The Importance of Setting Time For Yourself

We live in a fast paced world. We’re constantly working. We’re mindlessly scrolling. We’re looking for the next big thing to make our lives better. We’re so concerned about how others are making it through their life and not paying any attention to how we are making it through ours. Anxiety, depression, comparison…it all comes to surface. We begin to wonder how we can have a happier, fuller life for ourselves.

We live in an age where work schedules are inconsistent and long. We wake up, go to work, then come home. We’re trying to take care of families, cooking dinner, and then…we are on our phones for the rest of the evening. What we don’t realize is that we’re simply wasting our own time. We’re not taking the time to do the things we love. Instead, we want to live vicariously through others. 

In the past, I have noticed that if I don’t set some time for myself, I am anxious, frazzled, and unmotivated in my daily tasks. I have a hard time focusing on tasks at work and home. I lose motivation to maintain the cleanliness of my living space. My insecurities come to surface if I don’t take the time to take care of myself. In this day and age, it’s tough to actually put yourself first. 

Photo by Lum3n on Pexels.com

So what can we do to actually make time for ourselves?

It’s simple. Schedule it.

Scheduling time for yourself is an effective way for you to enjoy what you love doing whether it is reading, shooting a bow, watching a tv show, or having a spa night. When you schedule time to do what you want to do, you lower your chances of canceling that dedicated time. It doesn’t have to be two hours of your day. It can be 30 minutes or an hour. Want to read? Schedule it before you go to bed. It’s a great way for you to wind down for the evening. Want to watch your favorite tv show? Give yourself time to watch an episode or two right after dinner. One of the best ways to schedule your time is writing it down in a planner or on your phone’s calendar. When you see that reminder, you are more inclined to give yourself that allotted time. 

Why is it so important to set time for ourselves?

Setting time for ourselves allows us to hit the reset button. It allows us to escape from the crazy world we live in. It also allows us to wind down from the events that may have occurred at work or during your morning or evening commute. Our mood is better when we take the time to do the things we truly love. We gain knowledge and inspiration from the things we do. We continue pursuing the things we love. We’re also able to reflect on our day or events that happened in the past. It allows us to find ways to do or be better at whatever we are doing.

Keep in mind that it is okay to be selfish and make time for yourself. I know we like to take care of others and accomplish as many tasks as we can in one day, but eventually, you burn out. You lose focus on your goals and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Setting time is beneficial to your wellbeing. Remember to schedule it and don’t take a raincheck on that time. If you have to start with 10 minutes of “me” time, then that’s better than nothing. Your goal is to be the best version of yourself and setting that time for you is one of the best ways to do it.

Stay adventurous,

Natalie

How to Be Cleaning Efficient

So many of us work full time and have families to take care of or spend time with. In this fast paced world, it’s overwhelming with the amount of tasks we need to accomplish in our home.  As a result, we put off our tasks until the weekend. Before we know it, Sunday night is here and we prepare to start our week all over again. As we continue going through this vicious cycle, we feel as if we are stuck and cannot find a way of freeing up our weekends from housework and errands. So what can we do to get out of this vicious cycle?

Be efficient. Efficiency is a way to save us time, money, energy, etc. If you want a free weekend or maybe even a weekday, you have to be efficient. You’d be surprised with your accomplishments in a given amount of time. 

How Do I Become Efficient When I Have a Busy Work Schedule?

I’m going to be honest with you…You aren’t going to be able to clean your entire home or apartment in one day. First, you need to strategize. Which room do you want to tackle first? On your first day off in the week, deep clean that room. Don’t tackle any other rooms because you’re gonna be overwhelmed. If you have Saturdays and Sundays off, only tackle that room on Saturday. Leave Sunday for something you want to do whether it’s watching a movie or going hiking.

For example, I spent my day off deep cleaning our master bathroom. I wiped down the floors, counters, shower walls, and the toilet. I took the time going through our items under the bathroom counter and organizing them in the correct bins. I threw away items that were no longer used or had expired. 

Throughout the week, maintain the cleanliness of that room. Put everything back where it belongs. If you tackled a bathroom or kitchen, wipe the counters down daily. Wipe down your shower and scrub your toilet once a week. When you begin maintaining a clean room, you begin to free up more of your time for something else.

This past Monday, it took me 5-7 minutes to wipe down the shower walls, clean the toilet, sweep the floor, wipe down the counter, and change out the bath towels. Everything else was already put back where it belongs because I took the time to put it back once I was finished with that item. 

On your next first day off in the next week, start in another room. Remember to continue your maintenance on the previous room from the previous week before. Take time on your second day off to do something you’ve been wanting to do. Continue this cycle until you have accomplished a clean home. Just remember to be mindful of where you’re placing your items when you’re finished. This will save you a lot of cleaning and maintenance time in the long run. 

So when do you maintain your clean space?

I like to do my maintenance throughout the work week. I make a list with 3-5 tasks I want to tackle for that day, whether it’s vacuuming, loading/unloading the dishwasher, straightening up the living room, etc. I set a timer for 20 minutes and begin my tasks. When time is up, I reevaluate what I accomplished. You will be surprised what you can accomplish in 20 minutes each day.

If I’ve noticed anything, it’s that I have appreciation and a clear mind from having a clean space. I am able to locate things easily because they are in their correct home. I am able to start my day in a tidy space which allows me to get myself together physically, mentally, and emotionally for the day. I don’t have to tackle a lot on the weekends because they’re already taken care of throughout the week.

This will take some time before you notice a difference in your home and your cleaning habits. This will not happen overnight. In the beginning, it can be overwhelming, but with weekly and daily maintenance, you will be able to free up more of your time for the things you want to enjoy. Remember efficiency is key and setting time for your tasks will make a huge difference in balancing your home and work life.

Stay adventurous,

Natalie

How To Enjoy Your Own Company

As humans, it is our nature to be in a pack, big or small. We like to do things together, eat together, sit in the same room together, etc. We are used to always having somebody with us no matter where we go or what we do because we enjoy having company. We view our company as a safety net in case things go wary or we lack the confidence of experiencing new surroundings and events.  But what if you want or have to do things alone?

I’ve always considered myself a loner. Don’t get me wrong, I have my family and friends who I spend time with. I love interacting with my coworkers throughout the workday.  However, there were times where I was simply alone. There were places I wanted to go or things I wanted to do, but I never could find the right person or people to do them with me. Life would take over. Plans would fail. Disappointment would settle in. Overall, it was a struggle.

Over the years, I’ve learned to enjoy my own company. I started this adventure in 2016 where I experienced my first time eating alone at a restaurant. I was celebrating my first big girl job and wanted to celebrate. My family and friends were busy on the days I wanted to go. Therefore, I took it upon myself to celebrate for me. At that time, it wasn’t a common thing to see a 26 year old female sitting in the middle of a crowded room eating by herself. The interesting piece of this was, the server initially felt sorry for me when they had approached my table. When I began explaining the reason I came, it all made sense. My first experience eating solo was odd, but the service was exceptional.

Fast forward to 2019 when I took my first road trip on my own. I traveled from West Virginia to explore the surrounding areas of Fayetteville, North Carolina. I once had a dream of packing up my bags and moving there to start my life over. I was looking online for job openings at local schools. I even physically located the home I had dreams of buying. The trip itself was a liberating experience. I had the chance to explore botanical gardens, eat at a local diner, attended a random antique car show and shop at local clothing boutiques. 

So how do you enjoy your own company?

First of all, start small. Go somewhere you are familiar with, whether it’s at a local coffee shop, movie theater, or a mall. Once you’ve become more comfortable with these areas, begin expanding. Pick a day where you want to explore a new place. Find a local place that you’ve been wanting to visit such as a park, restaurant, shop, etc. and just go. Visiting a park? Pack a lunch and your favorite book. Going to a restaurant? Get to know your employees and get some insights on their favorite dish. Go somewhere local until you are comfortable, then expand.

My biggest rule going exploring a new area myself:

Enjoy my surroundings and stay off the phone as much as you can. There are times where people use their phones and mindlessly scroll in order to avoid uncomfortable situations. This is something to be mindful about because if you’re on my phone at a new spot, how are you supposed to get the full experience?

Initially, it’s an uncomfortable situation when you’re out and about by yourself. Over time, you begin to enjoy your own company. You get to do the things you want to do. You can go places you’ve been dying to visit. Plus, you can have a good time by yourself. It’s simply getting over the first hurdle and getting yourself adjusted to a new experience. 

If you have had similar experiences, I would love to hear about them. How long did it take for you to begin enjoying your own company? What were your initial thoughts and feelings when you enjoyed a new experience by yourself? 

Stay adventurous,

Natalie

Motivational Monday: Making Your Bed

It’s Motivational Monday friends!

Each Monday, I want to talk about some things that motivates me throughout the week. Today, I want to talk about the one thing I do that starts my day…making the bed.

Over the years, I was not one who made my bed each morning. Like some, I had the idea that my bed was going to be messed up again once I got in it at the end of the day. Therefore, I didn’t even bother. I didn’t even think that having an unmade bed would have some negative effects on my routines and mental well-being.

In the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, I started looking for inspiration on being a better version of myself. I knew that being in quarantine wasn’t going to be a positive experience for my mental state so I looked into reading self-help books and finding social media influencers who strived to make better versions of themselves. So what did all the inspiration I found have in common? Making the bed.

So why make your bed?

Making your bed has a positive impact. When you make the bed in the mornings, you are starting off your day with the intention to have a successful day. Doing something so little can have a ripple effect on your day. When you’ve accomplished one thing, you begin to feel motivated to complete other tasks such as house chores or maybe writing a blog post. 

The Physical Effects of a Made Bed

Having a made bed has some positive effects. When you have a neat and orderly room, your mind is calm and clear. You become more inspired to find ways of becoming more goal-oriented and successful. If you’re like me, having order in your bedroom reduces stress and anxiety.

Making your bed only takes five minutes to do. Make it a goal to make your bed as soon as you get out of it. If you’re waking up super early, set an extra five minutes to complete the task before you leave for work. If you are starting out, challenge yourself 60 days to make the bed and take note of how you are feeling.  You’ll be surprised how one little thing can improve your mental and emotional state. 

Stay adventurous,

Natalie

Gainful Review

Over the years, I have tried many fitness supplements to help me reach my potential. I was highly interested in using pre-workout and protein powders. To be honest, I wasn’t a fan of paying a lot of money for something that tasted so chalky. Therefore, I stopped trying and continued my exercise routine until 2018.

I’ve been looking for a different supplement routine for quite some time, a couple weeks before Josh and I started going back to the gym. I came across a new supplement brand and was interested to try it. As you continue reading, I am going to go over this brand and my experiences so far.

Who is Gainful?

Gainful was founded by co-founders, Eric Wu and Jahaan Ansari. Their mission is to create a personalized supplement routine that fits our needs. Every single one of us are different based on our lifestyle, performance, and health goals. By taking a five minute quiz, Gainful is able to customize the products that suit your needs and send them to you based on the frequency of use.

My supplement routine from Gainful.

What did my supplement routine include?

After taking the quiz, I was recommended their pre-workout, protein powder, hydration powder, protein flavor boosts, and a shaker bottle. I chose strawberry lemonade as the flavor for the pre-workout and hydration. The protein powder is flavorless, thus the reason why I included the flavor boosts in my routine. I got cookies and cream as the flavor and a sample pack containing seven different flavors. 

Is it affordable?

Gainful is a pretty pricey subscription service. Every 3 weeks, Gainful will send you what you need. For the entire bundle (minus the shaker bottle), it costs a little over $100.

Pros: 

-Customizable based on your health needs.

-Provides ideas on how you can incorporate Gainful into your everyday life.

-Provides flavor options: drink it with a Madagascar vanilla flavor boost  or add the flavorless option to your favorite pancake recipe.

-Access to a dietician, if needed.

-Ran out your hydration sticks but not the protein powder? Just go to your subscription and edit what you need for the next shipment.

Cons:

-Price point: Again, it is a pricey subscription service.

-Protein powder can get clumpy when mixing it with a liquid.

My Takeaway:

Overall I am pleased with how well the system works. I can tell how easily I have recovered from my workouts so far. It has helped me boost my hydration and curb my appetite. All the protein flavor boosts are delicious and the protein powder does not have that gritty feel. I was very pleased with the pre-workout. It’s not gritty nor chalky. The effects begin to work within 20 minutes.

If you are looking for a fitness supplement and are willing to pay the price, I would recommend this product to you. Every couple of weeks, I receive an email for their dietician going over ideas on how to recover from workouts based on nutrition and how to incorporate Gainful in your everyday routine. I am looking forward to sharing more of this product with you as my fitness journey continues. If there are supplements you use, I would love to hear what you use and why you love them.

Stay adventurous,

Natalie

Thwack, Crack, and Robinhoods

If you live near coastal North Carolina and Virginia, it is difficult to find archery ranges. Josh, William, and I had the opportunity to shoot our bows on a local range in Suffolk, Virginia. The range wasn’t fancy, but it was doable for what we were wanting to do. We were just happy to find a place to shoot, to be honest.

Last month, Josh and I decided to shoot for Hoyt this year. We wanted to try something a little different. I ended up getting the Hoyt Eclipse which, to be honest, shoots better than the Mathews Prima. Don’t get me wrong, the Prima shot well, but it didn’t fit me well. Since shooting the Eclipse, my shots have improved.

While at the range, my goal was to practice my form and stay as consistent as possible. I shot my first arrow at 30 yards. When I drew back my second arrow, I aimed where my first arrow was sitting. As soon as I released the second arrow, there was a loud crack. We all knew what that loud sound meant…a robin hood.

If you’re not familiar with archery, a robin hood is when an arrow enters into another arrow shaft. Some archers call this a success. Others see it as money going out the window (arrows are not cheap!). This occurrence doesn’t happen very often because it is difficult to shoot the exact same way every time. There’s a lot of factors that can affect your shot…the weather, your anchor, your follow through, etc.

My first robbinhood at 30 yards (top).

So how did I feel about this robin hood?

There were some good feelings toward that robin hood. First of all, I’ve never had a robin hood further than 10 yards. At 30 yards, that says something. Within the last few years, it has been a journey to get myself shooting the proper way. It’s also taken me a long time to learn how to focus and train my mind to trust the process in the shot. That robin hood told me that I’ve become comfortable with my shots. 

Having better equipment built my confidence in my shots. The Eclipse fits me a lot better than the Prima did. It’s lighter in weight and the grip fits my small hand. Last year, I had a lot of issues with the grip on the Prima. I was torquing my bow so much last year. Having a smaller grip gives me a better grip while drawing the arrow back. Less torque means fewer left and rights.  It also has a smoother draw cycle which also gives me indication when I’m creeping on my shot before I release my arrow. 

This year, I’m feeling more comfortable and confident in my shots. Although I won’t be competing much this year, I look forward to getting out and slinging some arrows. It’s still a passion of mine that isn’t going to die any time soon. 

Stay adventurous,

Natalie

Rekindling My Relationship With the Gym

I used to be a gym rat.

I spent seven years going to the gym. I enjoyed working out. I enjoyed the atmosphere and the common folk who attended. It was my second home.

I started in the Summer 2010. I began my journey with cardio. I spent a lot of time on the treadmill and cross trainer. By October 2010, I ran my first 5K. It was simply amazing achieving that goal. As a result, I continued to go to the gym on a regular basis.

Throughout the years, it was my form of therapy and stress reliever. I was commuting to school every day, attending long hours in education courses. As soon as I got home, I would make the effort and workout. Not only did it feel great to have a good workout in, but it also felt great to socialize with the regulars. Those who attended this small gym weren’t all young and hip. Some were older, maintaining their health. Others were there just to get out of their house. It was something I looked forward to.

Keep in mind that I wasn’t extremely serious about how I looked. I wasn’t toned. I still ate everything I wanted. I simply enjoyed the post-workout experience and feeling once I went home. 

January 2018 (left): I was on my way to hitting an all-time low in my life. Now (right): I haven’t been back to the gym since. I have my ups and down physically, mentally, and emotionally. I look forward to returning to this fitness journey.

I didn’t get obsessed with it until Summer 2017. I was dealing with a lot of personal issues. Anxiety and depression was coming to surface. I simply couldn’t hold in my anxiety anymore like I used to. I wasn’t eating a lot. I lifted weights hard. I was seeing those results I would see on social media. I loved it and I wanted more of it. I was becoming obsessed with my physical appearance.

I stopped going to the gym in the Spring 2018 after my divorce. I simply stopped talking to people. My mental health was getting worse. Life was getting harder for me as I had to start over in my life. The only things I had going at the time were my family and job.

Over the years, I wanted to go back to the gym because I missed working out. I missed the interaction along with the availability of equipment. I couldn’t muster the courage to visit a new gym and start over. The thought of it made me extremely anxious.

Last Tuesday, I began another adventure by going back to the gym again. Josh has encouraged me to try again. I was scared and anxious at first, but I was able to get through my emotions and start. We spent at least 45 minutes at the gym before we left. I am honestly glad that I took that first step because honestly, it isn’t easy. Especially when I had emotional and mental ties to fitness. I hope I can do this again without having the mental breakdowns and the fear of losing everything again. 

I’ll be keeping you all up to date on how things are going. I look forward to bouncing back and being the best version of myself.

Stay adventurous,

Natalie

Big Adjustments, Small Breaks

Photo by Madison Inouye on Pexels.com

I’m sorry for being MIA for the last couple of weeks. I have been needing a break from my blog and making content due to some mental setbacks. With having a new job and making adjustments to a new area, it’s been a rough couple of weeks for me. I wasn’t sleeping. My anxiety and depression came back for a few days. I just simply wasn’t myself.

I’ve been trying to get used to working long hours again. My schedule has been very inconsistent which has triggered some of my anxiety. I’m used to consistency, working 5 days on and having 2 days off. Not work one day, take a day off, then work three more. I work days and evenings. It’s been very tiring as I have been doing my best to have the energy to do things outside of work. 

I did get to go to West Virginia for a couple of days to see family and check on the house. To say I was so happy to be home was far from my emotions. In fact, I was still depressed, stressed, and worried. I worried about my house. I worried about the little amount of time I had in West Virginia. I was stressing over things that were beyond my control. I simply knew I was feeling anxious and depressed. 

So what have I been doing within the last couple of weeks while dealing with these episodes?

I’ve simply been taking it one day at a time. I’ve been facing my problems head on and diving deep into the roots of my issues. Simply talking about it has been quite helpful. I’m able to get a different light on what’s sparking my anxiety and how to handle it.

I’ve also been taking the initiative to do some research on anxiety and some small techniques to try if my anxiety comes back. I’ve been making the effort to get a better night’s sleep by using my weighted blanket, staying hydrated, and reading before bed. I’ve also been researching foods that can trigger anxiety and depression. I’m looking forward to cutting back on the things that can trigger them.

Adjusting to this new life has been challenging, but I refuse to go back to my old one. If I don’t continue this adventure, how am I going to grow? How am I supposed to live life if I don’t get out of my comfort zone? These questions have been on my mind lately. 

Life is hard, but it can be interesting. I’ve been doing my best to make myself at home in North Carolina. I’ve been getting to know my coworkers a little more. I’ve been interacting with the public. I’ve been staying motivated by listening to podcasts, reflecting on my days at work and how to be better, talking to my family, and making clean spaces in our apartment.

All these things have helped me in the last few days. I know these things aren’t always going to help, but any motivation and technique that helps me get through the day is better than not trying at all. As time goes on, I am looking forward to continuing to share my adventure with you. This blog is not dead just yet. There is more to explore.

Stay adventurous,

Natalie

March’s Read: River Rocks

Now that the weather is trying to break, the itch for an adventure has been settling in.  While the weather (and work schedule) hasn’t been ideal for an adventure, I decided to live vicariously in a book.

A few years ago, I had the opportunity to meet author Steve Kittner at a seminar. Each teacher was issued a free copy of his book, River Rocks. Taking place in the hills of West Virginia, two boys named Josh and Eddie go on a summer adventure when they come across a red milk can containing a cryptic message. The boys decided to research and discover clues that lead to Confederate gold from the Civil War. 

River Rocks by Steve Kittner

I really enjoyed this book because of the familiarity of the setting in the book. I have had the opportunity to explore the area and kayak the Elk River long before I picked up the book. I could picture myself being with the characters as they worked together to solve the mystery. It was actually the neatest experience for me.

They also like how the story gives you the old timey, small town feel. Although the story takes place in the early 2000s, the small town setting makes you think that the characters lived in the late 20th century. In the story, Josh and Eddie are all about being outside whether it’s riding bikes, camping or fishing. Everyone knows each other in the town and there’s always mannerisms involved. I honestly wish we could go back to the days where social media wasn’t involved and people were kind to one another. Life was much simpler without technology.

In the story, unlikely friendships were developed. Josh and Eddie become friends with high school graduate, Giselle, and the school bully, Brad. This is another part of the book I like because at a young age, we get this idea that we cannot be friends with someone who isn’t in our age group nor have similar family background. A lot of times, we tend to look at the surface instead of seeing what each and every one of us is capable of doing. For example, Brad came from a rough home life, but he could build a raft out of plywood and milk jugs. To me, that is a special talent. Brad’s project gave him an opportunity to break the chain and have a better life when he got older. In real life, you can break the generational chain by being you and sharing your talents with the world.

Kittner did an excellent job piecing some of the characters to the mystery of the missing Confederate gold. The adults involved in the hunt had an ancestor who had witnessed or overheard the story of the train robbery at the time. Their stories are carried from generation to generation which became a link to the missing puzzle. As I read this story, I would try my best to picture the story from everyone’s point of view until all the sides were told. As the entire story unfolds, so does the amount of time Josh and Eddie had to find this gold before their enemies did.  

If you are seeking an adventure, I would highly recommend this book. Once I started the story, I couldn’t put it down. The one thing I do regret is that I didn’t read this book sooner. If you are a teacher (especially in West Virginia), this book would be a great resource to incorporate into your learning standards. This is a very enjoyable read for everyone of all ages.

If you have read this book or any other Steve Kittner’s books, let me know what you think. I would love to hear your feedback.

Stay adventurous,

Natalie

Four Eco-Friendly Products I Am Currently Using

Eco-friendly products are the hype nowadays. Everyone wants to be conscious about the products they are purchasing and what goes on behind the scenes when that product was made. Everywhere you go, you see the terms “sustainable” or “eco-friendly” on most of the labels. Being eco-friendly is becoming more mainstream each and every single day.

If you are a beginner at finding eco-friendly products, it can be overwhelming. Therefore, it can be difficult to discover what is worth your money and purpose in buying the product and what is considered to be “green washing.” I am going to share four eco-friendly beauty products I am currently using. I will give you a little background information about the company and the price points they have on their products. 

UpCircle Beauty Facial Scrub

If you have been following along with my blog from the beginning, you know that I have done a couple of reviews on their moisturizer and facial scrub from UpCircle. Their belief is that you should have to pay a lot of money in order to be sustainable and ethical. I really like this scrub because it is made out of used coffee grounds collected from local coffee shops in London. The scrub does a great job exfoliating the dead skin cells while leaving your face feeling fresh in the end. They do not use artificial fragrances in their products which took some time for me to get used to because the scents are quite different. Overall, I would recommend this facial scrub to everyone. You can purchase the scrub from the UpCircle website or ULTA for $20.

Melixir Vegan Lip Butter

I’m going to be honest with you…I am a long time fan of Burt’s Bees chapstick. However, within the past few months, I found that their chapstick was feeling too watery and not nourishing my lips quite well. I bought Melixir Vegan Lip Butter as an Amazon purchase last February. As I continued to dig deeper into the brand, I found that they wanted to go against the grain in the beauty industry and refuse to test their products on animals. I also found that the company wanted to create a skincare brand that allowed consumers to be mindful in what they consume in their bodies every day. The Vegan Lip Butter is creamy, soft, and very nourishing on my lips. You can purchase this product from their website for $12.

Kevin Murphy Angel Wash Shampoo and Conditioner Set

I discovered these products at a local salon in Chesapeake, VA. Based in Australia. Stylist Kevin Murphy wanted to create products that are natural and sustainable. All their packaging is either recyclable or biodegradable. The products are also concentrated which means you use less of the product while still getting that cleaning experience. As of right now, I really like how my hair looks after shampooing and conditioning. My hair is shinier and softer after each use. I will be doing a review on these products in the future to let you know what I truly think of the products. The shampoo and conditioner set is going to be the most experienced product I am  presenting (Shampoo is $35; conditioner $36). You can purchase these products from the Kevin Murphy Hair website or find the nearest Kevin Murphy retailer near you.

Earth Harbor LA SAL Mineralizing Soap Bar

Earth Harbor is a little different from the rest because it specifically focuses on oceanic life. This brand created products that are non-toxic and synthetic free.  Now that body bars are becoming popular again, I wanted to find something that did a great job cleansing without stripping the oils from your body. The bar is actually fragrance-free which I also like because I am not a huge fan of fragrances as I get older. Although it contains minerals, the bar is not as textured as you think. Overall, I am pleased with this product and will continue using it in the future. You can purchase Earth Harbor’s Mineralizing Soap Bar for $12 from their website.

I hope sharing these four brands will get you started if you are thinking about making the switch. My advice to you is to find small businesses, research their core values of the brand, and support them by purchasing directly from them. I believe this is where you are going to have more bang for your buck if you are looking to be more conscious when purchasing products. 

If there are any eco-friendly products that you use, let me know. I would love to check them out and give them some business.

Stay adventurous,

Natalie

My Five Minute Journal: 60 Day Check-In

Back in December, I started my journey using the Five Minute Journal and gave everyone an idea of what it is and how it can help you be successful. My 60 days are finally up and I wanted to check in and let everyone know how things are going.

First off, if you don’t know what a Five Minute Journal is, I will provide you with the link given with the full details here. To summarize it, it is a journal that allows you to check in in the morning and at night. You simply date the page at the top, write 3 things you are grateful for, 3 things that would make today great, and 2 affirmations in the morning. At night, you reflect by writing 3 things that made the day amazing and 2 things that you think could have made the day better. It only takes five minutes to complete. Hence the title of the journal.

In the beginning, I wanted to utilize this journal as a way of expressing gratitude each and every single day. If you suffer from anxiety and depression like me, this journal would be helpful in the long run. In the beginning, it is scary to think that you have to write down 3 positive things and 3 things you are grateful for. Your brain simply goes haywire because well…it’s so used to allowing negative thoughts and lies to live rent free. I’m going to be honest with you, this was a struggle for me in the beginning. I am always thinking negatively and in worst case scenario situations.

Back to the journal…it doesn’t always take me five minutes to write. There are days where I can jot everything down and move on to the next part of my morning routine. Then there are days where I struggle and I am forcing myself to pick out things to put in my journal.  These days it’s challenging, but I do it anyway. I need to document what went on that day.

So far I have noticed a difference in my outlook in life. I have been a little more positive and mindful with the people and things around me. I try to give credit in all areas such as my job, relationships, and experiences. I feel it is important to point out the highlights and lowlights of my day. Our days are simply not perfect by no means, and that’s okay. I’ve learned to be more graceful on the hard days. 

A preview of the pages inside the Five Minute Journal.

The big question is whether or not it has made me successful so far. I can tell a difference in keeping tabs on what’s going on. I am more aware of what I am doing and what I need to do to make changes along the way. If I work on something pertaining to my goal, then I can write about it in my journal. If I slacked off on working on my goals, then I will simply make a reminder in the evening when I’m journaling. I have noticed a big difference in my motivation for writing posts for this blog. I want to keep writing. I want to keep talking about it in person and on social media. It’s becoming a part of me that I enjoy. It’s my escape. Sitting down and writing for five minutes day and night keeps me going.

Writing in the Five Minute Journal for the last 60 days has become a part of my routine. I can say what’s on my mind and move on from it. Taking the time to show gratitude gives me more appreciation for the littlest things in life, and I’m talking about the things we take for granted each and every single day. Seeing these changes tell me that I need to continue using the Five Minute Journal.  It’s kept me on track with my goals. I’ve seen some progress so far.

If you are interested in a Five Minute Journal, you can find it here. If you don’t want to buy a special book for journaling, take out a sheet of paper and jot down things you are grateful for and reflect on your day. Give yourself a challenge of doing this for 60 days and check in with yourself on how you are doing. You will be surprised with how much you change your perception on your goals and life in general. If you take on this challenge, let me know how things are going in the short future, I would love to hear how you’re doing.

Stay adventurous,

Natalie

I’m Feeling 32.

This week has been super crazy and busy. Monday and Wednesday, I had to work. On Tuesday, we celebrated my 32nd birthday. It’s hard to believe that another year has flown by. When people say, “When you get older, time flies faster,” they are not kidding. Some people dread entering into their 30s, but little do they know, the fun is about to begin.

This year was the first year I celebrated my birthday without my family. Honestly, it was a little odd and lonely. Over the years, we would get together and celebrate whether it was a visit at the house or going out to dinner. Family time has always been important to us, especially on birthdays. I am grateful for having technology where I can call or video chat with them when we’re free to do so.

My birthday cake and flowers from Josh.

I was fortunate to have the day off from work. Luckily, my schedule worked out that way without putting in a request (although, I like to be working). Tikka and I enjoyed the beautiful weather by going to the dog park and opening up doors and windows at the apartment. Josh surprised me by coming home a little earlier from work with flowers and a cake. Afterwards, we took a trip to Virginia to go to Texas Roadhouse for dinner. It was the first time in a while since we’ve been to a Texas Roadhouse. We’re so used to having one 15 minutes away, not an hour away. 

As I get older, I don’t care about making it an “all about me” kind of day. Instead, I look at it as another “new year, new me.” It’s another chance at striving for what I want in life: simplicity and happiness. It’s another motivator to keep working on the best version of me. If you need to find motivation somewhere, think about your upcoming birthday and make a plan on what you want to accomplish before then. Once your birthday arrives, channel that motivation towards the goals you want to achieve for 2022. 

Birthdays may be another day to us, but we can use that special event to focus on our goals and keep going. I mean, we are into the third month of 2022. Why not strive to make your age “a good year” in your life?

Stay adventurous,

Natalie

February Wins

Today is the last day of February which means one thing….revisit my February goals. At the end of January, I sat down and wrote five goals I wanted to meet in the month of February. These goals also reflected on my 2022 Goals I also wrote out at the beginning of the year. 

Instead of focusing on what goals I reached and the ones I didn’t meet, I wanted to share my 10 wins I had for this month.

10. Getting settled in our new city through social interaction

Moving to a new city can be overwhelming, especially if you’ve only visited a couple of times. Since moving to North Carolina, I knew that the only way for me to feel more like home was to socially interact. Fortunately, I am able to do so at my new job. I am getting to know my new coworkers and having small talk with the customers. If you were to tell me to do this 10 years ago, I would have struggled and headed for the hills (literally). I am glad that teaching has brought me out of my shell and made me take the initiative to talk to other people.

9. Being more efficient at home

Now that we have moved into our apartment, I finally feel like I have my act more together. Because Josh and I are constantly working, I wanted to make it a goal to be as efficient as possible. Finished with that skillet I just cooked in? Put it in the dishwasher right away. Just got out of bed? Make it as soon as you get out of it. Efficiency is currently my best friend. 

8. Flossed my teeth everyday

Okay, I should have been flossing everyday all along, but like most people, I didn’t want to take the time. I am really glad that I began this routine. I can tell a huge difference in my gums! They do not bleed nor feel raw from different foods. It only takes a couple of minutes to floss each time so if you’re not flossing, why not start today?

7. Established a morning routine that works me (for now)

It only took a couple of months, but I can finally say I have my own morning routine. This has helped me be more efficient and mindful of my time throughout the day. I have more quiet time for my Five Minute Journal and my daily devotionals. I have more time to make breakfast or have a cup of iced coffee. I also have more time to focus on bigger cleaning jobs such as cleaning bathrooms, mopping the floors, cleaning the walls from Tikka, etc.

6. Visited Raven Rock State Park

Josh and I can cross off another state park off our list. We both enjoy being outdoors and hiking is currently our go-to. We love seeing the attractions in person and appreciate the natural beauty. Tikka also loved the park because he was able to play in the river and smell all the new smells.

5. Found my own hairstylist.

This win is a big deal for me because I am very picky at who does my hair. I haven’t had my hair done since October 2021. After leaving my WV hairstylist of 3 years for NC, I knew it was going to take some time for me to find that special person to do my hair. After researching and viewing previous work, I now have a new stylist in Virginia. WIth her color and cutting expertise, she gave me what I wanted. If you’re wanting your hair to look and feel healthy and amazing, you have to pay the price (money, that is.).

4. Making homemade foods

Homemade pepperoni pizza.

Inflation has destroyed almost everyone’s wallets. Josh and I have become more mindful of what we were buying. I took the initiative to say, “I can make that from scratch.” I have been doing that a lot this month. We buy more ingredients than we do prepackaged. Some of the items I made were alfredo, breadsticks, coffee creamer, pizza, sheet pan chicken, and pepperoni rolls. Not only has it helped our wallets, but it’s healthier. No preservatives. No chemicals.

3. Started a Facebook Page for my blog

I had been wanting to do this since I started this blog, but I wasn’t so sure how well it would do. I am not one who sends out invites to everyone to join my page. I have to admit, my Facebook page has spread word about my blog. I have had several people say they can relate to my posts. I have had people share my posts in hopes it would reach someone who needs some insight on certain topics. My page did not explode overnight, but I have noticed more engagements. If you are interested in following my Facebook page for the latest updates, you can find it here: htts://www.facebook.com/arrowsxadventures

2. I got hired at Lowe’s

As much as I loved being at home, I didn’t like being home all day, everyday. I needed social interaction. At the beginning of the month, I accepted a full time job at Lowe’s. I have never been happier with my decision. It’s different. My schedule is flexible. There are no lesson plans. No stress and anxiety. Sure the pay isn’t what I was getting, but you know what? I am so much happier and that’s all that matters to me.

1.We moved to our apartment

Tikka’s favorite spot is the dog park.

After waiting for two months and living in a camper, we FINALLY moved into our apartment on February 1st. We officially made ourselves at home. We have more space for us and Tikka. Tikka has his own dog park to run around and play. Josh and I are able to do things without bumping into each other. It was worth the wait!

Looking at my “wins,” February was another month that has been good to me. Big or small, I have experienced and learned a lot during these milestones. I’d like for you to take time and think about what you have done in the month of February. Even if you have done one thing, consider it as a win and go from there. What were your “wins” for the month of February? I look forward to sitting down and making my goals for March and continue this adventure.

Stay adventurous,

Natalie

My Top 5 Podcasts

Within the last six months, I have become a huge fan of podcasts. I love listening to everyone’s perspective on different things such as money, life, health, spiritual well being, beauty, etc. Overall I am a big fan of learning from others and how they overcame their struggles. Their solutions may not solve every problem in my life, but it gives me a different way of approaching challenges that come and go.

Today, I want to share my top five favorite podcasts. Some of them are updated on a bi-daily basis while some haven’t been updated for months. Keep in mind that even if the creator hasn’t updated in a while, I still like to revisit certain podcast episodes whenever I am in a situation. It’s a good refresher. Plus, it gets me thinking about how I can approach my personal challenges.

Morning With the Masters:

If you read my Morning Routine post, you may have briefly read about this podcast. Updated on a daily basis, Chad and Tori Masters go over the day’s topic and devotional. Both will take a couple of minutes to tie their personal experiences to the topic presented. Each episode lasts 7-9 minutes, but the message is powerful.

Good Together: Ethical, Eco-Friendly, Sustainable Living

I have looked into ways of being a little more sustainable and eco-friendly within the last few months. Brightly co-founders Laura and Liza provide insights on how you can be more eco-friendly 365 days a year. They talk about how daily activities affect the planet in both a positive and negative way. They also provide ways of being more conscious whether it’s shopping, eating, decorating, etc. There are a lot of good ideas if it fits your lifestyle.

Whoa, That’s So Good

If you have been keeping up with my blog, you know I am a fan of Sadie Robertson. She is wise beyond her years when it comes to speaking the gospel and how she handles situations. As crazy as this sounds, Sadie covers a variety of topics that affect all ages. She also does a wonderful job tying in the biblical stories to our everyday life.

#YouGotThis with Bryson and Jennifer

I discovered Jennifer Lauren back in March 2020 on Instagram. I love her style, aesthetic, and how she interacts with her fans. When her now husband, Bryson, created a podcast, I was super stoked. Although there are only 12 episodes, Bryson and Jennifer go over their story of how they met, their successes and failures, and guide you around Austin, Texas. I love revisiting their podcast when I am losing inspiration on posting social media or if I need some inspiration on their journey to success. They are raw and real when they are alive.

How to Money

I discovered this podcast back in April 2021 and haven’t stopped listening to them since. Best friends, Joel and Matt, provide knowledge and tools to help you with your finances. They go over how you can use money in a more meaningful, thoughtful way while you are on the journey of eliminating debt, saving, and investing. What I really like about this podcast is there is rarely any jargon that is used. Matt and Joel do a really good job going over what these terms mean and how it affects our everyday life. These episodes have given me some insights and tips on how I can handle my personal finances.

If you are looking to find new podcasts, I hope these listed podcasts will broaden your horizon. If there are any podcasts you think I would like, let me know! I would love to add new titles to my library.

Stay adventurous,

Natalie

Raven Rock State Park

Last Monday, Josh and I were fortunate to have the day off. Instead of staying home and working on the apartment, we decided to get out and enjoy the outdoors with Tikka. We wanted to go where there was some elevation to our hiking activity. Unfortunately, the closest areas are about 4 hours away from our apartment.

After doing a little digging on the map, Josh came across Raven Rock State Park in Lillington, NC (which is a 3 hour road trip, but we did it!). Raven Rock provided many trails along the Cape Fear River. There are a variety of trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding along with levels of difficulty.

When we arrived in the area, there were a lot of visitors who had the same idea. I can’t be mad about that because it was a beautiful day to be out and about. Tikka was all excited about the new area and groups of people. More importantly, he was excited to get out and get some exercise. Little did he know that we were going to be exercising for a couple of hours.

Josh and I decided to take Campbell Creek Loop Trail. This 4.5 mile trail gives you a challenge to hike the different elevations of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The trail also had a rockier terrain than the other trails which also gave you a challenge in stability. The trail started off on a downward slope, but eventually gained elevation as you traveled through.

The first neat feature about Campbell Creek Loop Trail is walking along Cape Fear River. I have visited this river back in 2019 in Fayetteville, and did not remember the river being that narrow (Of course, I am used to seeing wide mouth rivers back in West Virginia which gives me the assumption that all rivers are like the ones back home.) and calm. Tikka had the opportunity to play in the river for a few minutes.

Another neat feature about this trail is having access to see Lanier Falls. These falls aren’t as extravagant as you think, but the river was significantly wider and active. You didn’t get a clear view of the falls, but listening to it was relaxing.

Lanier Falls at Raven Rock State Park

After hiking and viewing these neat areas, we finished off at 5 miles when we returned back to the car. Overall the trail did have some challenges to it, but it was just enough for you to break a sweat. Of course, Josh and I are used to challenging elevations (thanks, West Virginia!). We both agreed that we would revisit the park again when we have the time. There are so many more trails we have yet to explore.

If you are interested in Raven Rock State Park, you can find the information here. If there are any other North Carolina state parks you think we would enjoy, let me know! We are always up for an adventure!

Stay adventurous,

Natalie

Routine Series Part 2: My Morning Routine

Last week, I talked about routines and why you should have one (If you haven’t had a chance to read it, you can find it here). Routines are important in our daily lives. Our productivity increases. We are more organized not just in our schedules, but in our thoughts. Creating a routine is easy, but it takes time to fine tune it. You have to consider time management, work schedules, unexpected life events, etc. Are you going to have your routine down to the second? No.

Last December, I thought about how I was going to develop a routine that works for me. I needed something that was predictable for the sake of my anxiety, especially if I was leaving the typical 7:30-4:00 teaching job. I was used to having a routine at work and I needed to have a routine at home.

For starters, I focused on developing a morning routine. At first it was a little difficult because of the camper life, but I made it doable until we moved into the apartment. Now that we are moved in, my routine is much more manageable. I am still working on it as we speak. Below is how I start my morning.

Wake Up:

I actually wake up at Josh’s 5 am alarm. Once he leaves for work, I go back to sleep and wake back up no later than 8 am. Tikka is pretty good at waking me up around this time (he’s wanting to play). My new rule for this year is not to sleep past 8. I have noticed that sleeping past that time throws my day off.

Five Minute Journal:

I start off by working on the morning portion in my Five Minute Journal. I have been using this journal since December. On each page, I write 3 things I’m grateful for, 3 things that would make my day great, and two daily affirmations. Since using it, I have noticed a change in my perspective in a positive manner (I will be giving you an update on this journal within the next couple of weeks.).

Daily Devotional:

After completing my journal, I sit down and read or listen to a devotional. Currently I switch between reading Live Purposely by Sadie Robertson Huff or listen to Mornings With the Masters by Chad and Tori Masters. Both devotionals are short, but very meaningful. It gives me a different perspective on life.

Make the Bed:

Photo by Adrienne Andersen on Pexels.com

This one is a classic. If you grew up with the expectation of making your bed, then this one should be pretty simple to do. Making your bed is a kickstart of your productivity line. I always hear the excuse, “Well, you’re just going to mess it up when you go to bed that night.” This is true, but think about the times you change your bed sheets and how amazing it feels to climb in crisp sheets. You can still extend this feeling by making your bed.  Plus, making your bed does not take that long to do.

Morning Skincare:

I always think about Rachel Hollis when she says, “Girl, go wash your face” in her books. She is right. If that is one thing I can do right, it’s washing my face then applying eye cream and SPF. Washing my face makes me feel like I am put together regardless if I go anywhere.

Start Breakfast:

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Breakfast is pretty quick and simple for me. On weekdays, I enjoy a bowl of cereal with oat milk (I’m a big cereal eater!). On weekends, Josh will cook a breakfast scramble or we will get breakfast takeout. 

All together, my routine takes about half an hour to complete. Once I complete my routine, I am ready to take on what my day consists of. I know as I continue through the year, my is subject to change as I am still working on fine tuning it. I hope this gives you an idea of how you can start your day. Keep in mind that it will take some time to figure out what works for you. Start with 3 things you want to accomplish each morning, keep track of your time and make changes accordingly. Try your routine for 30 days and reflect on your mood, what’s going well, and what changes you need to make. Don’t get discouraged if your routine is working. You have the power to change it.

If you have a morning routine you would like to share, let me know! I would love to hear them!

Stay adventurous,

Natalie

The First Case of Homesickness

It’s been a wild ride for us since last December. Amongst living in a camper, adjusting to new jobs, and finally moving into an apartment, it has been nonstop for us. I haven’t had much time to think about West Virginia since we moved down here. A few days ago, I mentioned to Josh that I really didn’t feel homesick at all.

Tikka has been having a hard time adjusting to the move. His behavior has been wild and he’s been anxious. I’ve been trying to set a schedule for him for when we would go to the doggie park so he can run freely. It has helped with his energy. However, he is still restless.

This week, I came across videos for dogs on YouTube. Tikka has been in love. He likes to sit and watch the animals on the tv. Sometimes he’ll become intrigued and have to sniff the screen to see if they are real. It has helped with his anxiety some. It has now become a part of his morning routine.

Today, I came across a video of cows for Tikka to watch. He absolutely loved it. I know, you’re probably thinking it’s crazy that we’re watching videos of cows grazing a field instead of just going outside to watch them. The problem is, there aren’t any cows close to where we’re living. We live close to a busy highway and flat land containing over 100 windmills. No cows in sight. 

Currently missing these West Virginia hills.

The calm and peacefulness of the video triggered something in me…I was missing West Virginia. I miss the peacefulness. I miss the hills. I miss the small town feeling. I also miss being there when this beautiful weather is taking place. I know that last weekend we came home to West Virginia, but one day was simply not enough. I am hoping to return for more than one day soon.

So what can I do to fulfill the void for the time being? Keep myself busy and continue my routine until the time comes for me to come home for a few days. It’s not easy living almost 8 hours away, but I’m glad we have technology to FaceTime with family. 

I know this isn’t going to be my only time where I’m homesick during this adventure. More will come later down the road. I just need to be prepared for it. I need to make time to come home to those West Virginia hills.

Stay adventurous,

Natalie

Routine Series Part 1: What Is a Morning Routine and Why Should You Have One

Morning routines are known to make you efficient and successful.

Mornings can be hectic, especially if you’re waking up early and preparing for the workday. Sometimes we’re tempted to hit that snooze button one more time or maybe stay in the shower for another 10 minutes because it’s warm and comforting. For most of us, we aren’t all rainbows and sunshine in the morning.

If you’ve been following my adventures, you know I have talked about making and teaching goals. One of my goals this year involved developing a morning routine. I’ve been known to rush myself out the door to start my day. From then up until it’s time for bed, I am mindlessly on the move. My anxiety was up and my brain was restless. It was time for me to do something about it.

So why develop a routine?

According to the dictionary, a routine is a series of actions regularly followed. Routines give us the expectation and our brains love it. Our stress levels and anxiety are down. We’re able to cope with change. Think about the routines you had when you were in school. You knew what was expected. 

What happens if we don’t have a routine?

Going back to the classroom…when the routine changes or a routine is not set, chaos happens. Chaos happens in our brain when we don’t have a routine. We forget things. We spend more time eating breakfast than taking a shower. We’re stressing out and we haven’t made it out the door yet.

Does having a routine make you successful?

Think about a successful person you look up to. If you have read a book they wrote or follow them on social media, they probably have shared their morning routine with you. Their reason: it makes their days productive. 

Routines take out the guesswork in what you need to do for the day. You’re saving time. You’re saving your energy for other tasks. Time is precious.

How do I create a morning routine?

Creating your own morning routine is based on trial and error. Stop and think about what you want to set aside in the morning and how long it’s going to take you to do it. I sat down and created a list of 3-5 things I wanted to do when I first woke up. Then I estimated the time I thought it would take me to do these things. After that I took action the next morning and reflected on my efficiency. If things went well, I continued using that allotted time. If things weren’t going well, I adjusted my time and tried again the following morning.

Routines are very helpful, especially in our fast paced world. Initially, it is hard to get things going. Once your routine is set, your tasks will come naturally. Plus your days will run smoothly.

Next time, I will share my morning routine with you. Let me know if you have planned on setting a morning routine or you currently have one. I would love to know!

Stay adventurous,

Natalie

2022 Archery Season Phrase: “Why Not?”

Josh, Tikka, and I took a weekend trip to West Virginia. We were all missing the beautiful mountains and our families. We did not get home until 12:30 in the morning. Regardless of the time it took to get home, we’re happy to get away from reality.

My Mathews Prima (left) and the Hoyt Eclipse (right)

This morning, we stopped by HP Archery to visit, shoot some bows, and get our equipment fine tuned. We were happy to be back on the range.For the past month or so, I’ve been looking into branching out to trying new bows. I’ve shot Mathews since 2018 and that is all I’ve ever shot. There’s not one time I thought about shooting something other than a Mathews. Since I’ve been so open minded with everything this year, I decided to try out something else.

Our shop had a Hoyt Eclipse in stock. At first, we were afraid I couldn’t shoot it due to the draw length. The minimum draw length was 26 inches. I was shooting 25 inches. Josh double checked and measured me for my draw length. We both found I was 25 1/2 inches. Last year, I was measured at 24 1/2, but since we have corrected my form within the past year, we had a correct measurement.

At first we set it to 45 pounds, but realized I couldn’t draw the bow back. We adjusted the draw weight to 40 pounds on the Eclipse. This is what I currently have set on my Prima.  Once we had everything set, I was able to shoot a few rounds with it to see how I liked it.

My takeaway on the Hoyt Eclipse:

The bow itself didn’t feel bulky in my hand. The grip felt better in my hand than the Mathews Prima grip. I didn’t feel like I was fighting my bow while aiming at the target. Because the grip is a little more narrow on the Eclipse, there’s less of a chance for significant torque.

When I first drew the bow back, I was surprised how smooth the draw cycle was. In fact, the draw cycle was smoother than the Prima. The holding weight was heavier which meant I couldn’t “creep” my arrow forward as easily while aiming at the target. I was impressed with this because I have a tendency to do so with my Prima.

The grip feels a lot nicer on the Hoyt Eclipse.

Another thing we noticed was how fast my arrow was coming out of the Eclipse. When tested through the chronograph, the arrow was moving 6-7 ft per second faster in the Eclipse (and that was with the whisker biscuit attached. Think of how fast that arrow would have gone if a QAD or Hamskea arrow rest was attached to it!). 

Overall, I am impressed with the Hoyt Eclipse. In fact, my decision has been made for the Archery season…I’m hanging up the Mathews Prima and will be representing Hoyt. This decision was unanimous and like I told Josh, “Why not?” 

I look forward to continuing sharing this archery journey with you this year as we attend some 3D shoots. What’s your preference on a bow brand? Have you thought about branching out before? Let me know your thoughts!

Stay adventurous,

Natalie

6 Reasons Why I Quit Teaching

A while back, I quit my teaching job. The teacher burnout was too much for me. In fact, I was starting to get burned out right around the time the pandemic hit the United States. Did I become a teacher for the paycheck? No. In fact, I always liked being in the classroom. I loved having routines. I loved getting to know the students. I loved presenting topics in an interesting way. 

So why was I burned out? There are 6 reasons why.

The Unrealistic Expectations

For one, it was the unreachable high expectations. We were expected to squeeze in all the material within a 9 month period. In a perfect world, this may have worked. However, life happens. Mother Nature happens. The pandemic happened. It wasn’t going to happen.

Lack of Funding for Materials

As a science teacher, this was extremely difficult to have materials for 100+ students. Even grouping students to cut down on the material was also difficult because I was still struggling to have enough materials. Some school districts will do the best they can to get you the materials you need. However, there were times where the labs/projects I was doing were occurring within a couple of weeks. If the funding wasn’t there, it meant I would pay out of pocket. Mind you, this isn’t the district’s fault. However, if there is a project that would be meaningful to students, a personal financial sacrifice happens. 

Mundane Summers

If you’re not in the education system, your first thoughts about teaching are, “you get summers off. Must be nice.” Actually, for me, it is not. In the beginning it was awesome because I could get whatever I needed to get done. However, as the years went on, not working during the summer wasn’t all rainbows and sunshine for me. As I continued to develop anxiety and depression. I didn’t like staying home while everyone worked. I needed a routine. A summer job wasn’t going to work due to my time off getting shorter and shorter each year. Being home during the summer was killing my mental health.

Assigned Content

Science is all about exploring and understanding the natural world. Unfortunately, having structured content made it a little difficult in allowing students to explore. Having so many learning standards that I have to teach In so little time took more time away from connecting the content to the real world. Students really enjoyed the content once they understood how and why it affects them. It also made it difficult to make time to teach students the basic skills they need to be successful in labs such as measurements, proper use of tools, calculations, etc. I always felt rushed to teach these skills so I could jump into the learning standards.

The Lack of Appreciation

Before the pandemic, teachers were viewed as lazy and “just there for a paycheck.” Sometimes there were times where I would hear students and/or parents say that teachers don’t know how to teach. This may be true for some, but not all teachers are like that. Now that the pandemic is here, the lack of appreciation has hit tenfold. If something goes wrong in terms of academic and/or behavior, we are the ones to blame. It didn’t matter how much I tried to use effective teaching practices and follow school policies, it wasn’t enough for some.

Personal Use of Technology in the Classroom

In the beginning of my teaching career, I was attached to my phone. Unfortunately, I was on it whenever I wasn’t teaching. What I didn’t realize at the time was that I was bringing personal issues to work. I wasn’t leaving home at home. Plus, how fair was it for me to be on my phone if students weren’t allowed to be? It was greatly affecting my way of teaching. 

When I moved to my second school, students also weren’t allowed to have phones in the classroom. Our administration encouraged teachers to stay off the phones and teach. I didn’t want to self-sabotage myself again and took that encouragement. The phone was left on my desk and I was out on the floor. I was teaching, engaging, and getting to know my students as they are working. I didn’t realize how much students enjoyed it when I was teaching.

I got my first taste of students using their cell phones in the classroom at my third school. I was uncomfortable with it because I was new. Even if I told them to put the phone away or confiscate it, I was afraid there was another student out there who would take advantage of the situation and try to get me in trouble. Walking in a straight line puts a lot of anxiety and pressure on me. I knew I simply couldn’t deal with this for an entire school year. 

Where Do I Go From Here?

It was difficult for me to walk away from something I always thought I would be doing up until retirement age. However, waking up in the middle of the night having anxiety attacks and crying my eyes out because I dread the next day wasn’t healthy for me. Something had to give. I knew I couldn’t continue doing something that I wasn’t truly happy with.

Will I ever return to the classroom? As of right now, no. In fact, I don’t miss it. Would I come back to the classroom if the education system was fixed? I would. I enjoy teaching and I know there are times where I miss the students and staff. I simply don’t miss the mental and emotional stress.

As I take a step back from the classroom, I look forward to exploring another career area. I look forward to trying new things and learning new skills. Who says a new career isn’t a new adventure?

Stay adventurous,

Natalie

Natalie’s Five February Favorites

February has been super crazy for us and we aren’t even 10 days in. We have been working, unpacking, moving the camper, getting settled in, etc. We are very happy with our current location. We look forward to having warmer weather in the near future. For this month, I wanted to share my five favorites from Amazon. Bonus points: each item is under $30!

AmazonBasics Microfiber Sheets ($19.99):

We are picky about the quality and feel when we are looking for a new set of sheets. For $20, this sheet set is very good quality. They are super soft and comfortable. I also like how this set doesn’t get super wrinkly while in use.

TOCESS Big Hair Claw Clips ($13.99/4 count)

These hair clips are my absolute favorite! They are big enough for those who have long hair. They hold your hair place while you’re working on home projects or simply working out. I use these while I let conditioner sit in my hair. The material is premium quality and will not break when you drop them (I have dropped these clips numerous times and haven’t had a tooth to break!).

Hanes EcoSmart Crewneck Sweatshirt ($11.11)

The temperatures may be cold, but this is the time to start purchasing bright colors to transition into Spring. This sweatshirt is super soft and comfortable to wear whether you are lounging around at home or going out to take care of errands. It’s lightweight, but it still keeps you warm.

Schick Hydro Silk Dermaplaning Tool ($4.97/3pack)

I started using this tool back in March 2020. My initial reason for purchasing it was to get rid of peach fuzz on my face. Over time, I realized that I love how well it exfoliates my face. It is my go-to tool when I want to get rid of dead skin cells when performing my PM skin routine.

Vtopmart Pantry Organizer Bins ($27.99/6 pieces):

We are still in the process of unpacking and putting everything away. Our bathroom vanity is huge, but it doesn’t have any way of organizing our personal products. These bins are a lifesaver! I used them to organize our medications, personal care products, and my makeup. I also like having clear bins because I am able to look for the product without having to take it out of the cabinet.

I’m glad I took the time to share my favorite things for the month of February. What are your favorites? Did they make the list? Is there anything on mine you are excited to try? If so, leave me a comment!

Stay adventurous!

Natalie

Post Camper Life- 4 Things I Appreciate Now Than I Did Before

Our view from our balcony.

We are officially living in North Carolina and no longer living in the camper! Out of the three, I think Tikka is the happiest. There’s more living room, places to roam outside, and beautiful views. 

My original plan was to publish my book review. However, I decided to delay it until next week. I wanted to share with you my reflections and appreciation on the fiber things now that are out of the camper lifestyle. It was fun while it lasted, but it was time to close that chapter and move on with our lives.

Living Space

Obviously, I was going to start with this one. Growing up, I always wanted to be apart of the tiny living lifestyle. Well, I got my taste for it for two months. With this military lifestyle, cold weather, and a puppy under a year was not ideal. We were cramped. Getting out and about was difficult because we were living on base and the weather was not cooperating. It was also difficult to do housework or cook when another person was up and moving.

Last night, we all had a change in mood when we moved around in our apartment. Of course, going from 290 to 1,196 square feet of space would change almost anyone’s mood.  We felt like we weren’t on top of one another when completing tasks. Tikka also had room to play with all his toys without knocking over a space heater nor losing them under the camper’s couch. Overall, we were pleased with our new situation.

Heat

This one is tied with living space. During our time  in the camper, we fought the thermostat and propane tanks. There were nights where the heat wouldn’t kick on in 20 degree weather. Both Josh and I were in sweatpants and hoodies while sleeping under 2-3 blankets. Of course, I was told the next morning that I hogged all the blankets while sleeping. Neither one of us slept well under these conditions.

Plumbing

Need to use the restroom, but you’re on limited hook ups? Either have a portable holding tank on hand (See Five Things To Consider If You Are Planning to Live in a Camper if you don’t know what I am talking about) or go across the road to go to the campground bathrooms. I’ve never been so happy to be able to go to the bathroom in peace and in my own living quarters!

Showering was also a challenge in the camper. One, there wasn’t much space. Two, there was very little hot water due to the size of the hot water tank. What used to be 20 minute showers turned into 5. If I needed to wash my hair, I had to pack up my shower items and head across the road to use the community shower. In the beginning, I was okay with doing that. As the temperatures and winter weather began to change for the worse, it was not a fun time freezing while standing in the shower stall. 

I’m honestly glad to be using an in-home shower again. I don’t have to worry so much about carrying items over, forgetting whether I packed a clean pair of leggings, wearing my Crocs while I shower, etc. Having everything in one spot has been a blessing.

Having a Laundry Room

Before we moved south, I was always doing a load of laundry. It was my way to keep things going and keep me busy. The camper does not have a washer/dryer hookup. Therefore, we were spending our Sundays at the Laundromat. Don’t get me wrong, going to a laundromat can be pretty relaxing when it’s not crowded. Plus we were able to get multiple loads completed all at once which cut down on time. 

The downfall was once your favorite t-shirt had a ketchup stain on it, you simply couldn’t put it in the washer right away. Instead, you had to wait. However, it has taught me about being more mindful of what to wear for a day and to keep it from getting soiled. It has also taught me to pick an outfit and wear it up until it’s time for a shower and a change of clothes. 

Camper life isn’t always glamorous. There are many challenges you face, especially if you are a beginner. There are also a lot of accommodations you have to make in order to keep your sanity. Would I ever want to stay in a camper again? Yes, but not for two months with limited hook ups in the middle of winter.

Over the last couple of months, I have grown to become very appreciative of what we have now. Before our big move to the south, I took a lot of things for granted such as long, hot showers. It’s not so much that we are happier about having the finer things in life. It is more that we are happier to be back to our normal. If we would have stayed in the camper permanently, it would have become our norm and things would have leveled out. However, because we knew in the back of our minds that this was temporary, it made it much harder on us mentally to enjoy our stay in the camper.

All of us here are pleased to be back to normal. I cannot wait to share more of this new chapter with you once we are fully settled in. This adventure is not over yet.

Stay adventurous,

Natalie

Natalie’s Beauty Takeaway: Kristin Ess Hair Micellar Shampoo

Since July, I have been on a hair journey to have healthier, fuller hair. I used to wash my hair ever single day. Last June, I begin to notice my hair was dry, brittle, and frizzy. I also noticed the amount of hair I was losing when I was in the shower or when I brushed my hair. I was getting very concerned about what was going on. I began doing a little bit of research on how I can train my hair by reducing the amount of times I washed it. 

I started my journey on July 1st by washing my hair every other day. I would schedule the days I was washing my hair and took note of what my hair was doing on non-washing days in my agenda. Fast forward to January 2022, I am currently on Phase 2: washing every three days. 

This phase has been an interesting one, particularly during the winter time. There are days where my hair looks just as good as it did the day I washed it. On other days, my hair is super flat and oily. It’s been a rollercoaster for my scalp. I began watching YouTube videos and read articles about using a clarifying shampoo before using your regular one.

Why?

Clarifying shampoo is used to remove all the oils and impurities your regular shampoo may not get. I like to view this item as a reinforcement for cleansing. My issue with shampooing on day 3 was that my shampoo wouldn’t penetrate to the scalp because of the amount of oil buildup in my hair. Therefore I had to shampoo twice. I wasn’t a fan of shampooing twice because I was still using the same amount of product as I was in Phase 1. Something had to give.

I came across Kristin Ess Hair product line back in October when I was watching shampoo and conditioner reviews. Many Youtube influencers were giving her line a thumbs up. Last month, I visited her line of products at Ulta and decided to give it a try. Therefore, I picked up the Kristin Ess Hair Micellar Shampoo.

Who is Kristin Ess?

Kristin Ess is a celebrity hairstylist, colorist, and social media influencer. She is also the co-founder of http://www.thebeautydepartment.com. Kristin has over twenty-two years of experience as a top stylist and colorist. She is also an expert in providing insights on what products are needed to create beautiful hairstyles.

Why is Kristin Ess Hair so significant?

Kristin Ess Hair is known for luxury haircare and styling products that was affordable to everyone. Kristin wanted everyone to have the opportunity to create modern, perfectly-imperfect hair. Each product can be used either alone, with other products you use in your haircare routine, or combined with products in her haircare line.

What are the key ingredients?

I couldn’t find any key ingredients on the Kristin Ess Hair website. However, this is what I have found listed on both the website and the bottle. 

WATER, SODIUM LAUROYL METHYL ISETHIONATE, COCAMIDOPROPYL BETAINE, GLYCERIN, OLETH-5, FRAGRANCE, PHENOXYETHANOL, DISTEARETH-100 IPDI, SODIUM LAUROAMPHOACETATE, SODIUM BENZOATE, CITRIC ACID, POLYQUATERNIUM-10, POTASSIUM SORBATE, POLYQUATERNIUM-7, PANTHENOL, TRISODIUM ETHYLENEDIAMINE DISUCCINATE, BUTYLENE GLYCOL, HYDROLYZED PEA PROTEIN, CHAMOMILLA RECUTITA (MATRICARIA) FLOWER EXTRACT, EQUISETUM HYEMALE LEAF/STEM EXTRACT, EUCALYPTUS GLOBULUS LEAF EXTRACT, HYDROLYZED RICE PROTEIN, SALVIA OFFICINALIS (SAGE) LEAF EXTRACT, ALOE BARBADENSIS LEAF JUICE, ALGIN, CAPRYLIC/CAPRIC TRIGLYCERIDE, CARRAGEENAN, CHITOSAN, COCO-GLUCOSIDE, COCOS NUCIFERA (COCONUT) FRUIT EXTRACT, GUAR HYDROXYPROPYLTRIMONIUM CHLORIDE, HELIANTHUS ANNUUS (SUNFLOWER) SEED OIL, LAVANDULA ANGUSTIFOLIA (LAVENDER) EXTRACT, MANGIFERA INDICA (MANGO) SEED BUTTER, PERSEA GRATISSIMA (AVOCADO) OIL, RICINUS COMMUNIS (CASTOR) SEED OIL, SORBITAN OLEATE, XANTHAN GUM.

Is it affordable?

Kristin Ess Hair Micellar Shampoo is affordable. You can find it for $12 on Amazon and other major retail stores.

Pros: 

-Kristin’s haircare line is cruelty-free, vegan, color & keratin safe, free of sulfates, paragons, phthalates, & silicones.

-The formulation is lightweight.

-The product has a very light scent.

The formulation is clear and lightweight.

Cons:

-The tip of the bottle is a little tricky because I couldn’t figure out whether I needed to twist the tip or pull up. 

-When applying directly on the scalp, it was difficult to know if any of the product did come out. There were times were I would just squeeze a small amount on my hand and then worked it on my scalp.

My Takeaway:

The micellar shampoo does a good job cleaning my scalp. I was impressed with how much life it gave my roots after a wash and a blow dry. However, I recommend flip flopping between this and your regular shampoo. I was using it first and then my shampoo for the second wash. Over time, I noticed my scalp was getting dry and itchy. I’m don’t want to say it is the main cause of my dry scalp though because we are in the middle of winter. I have been swapping back and forth for each wash and have noticed my scalp not as dry. This is something you would have to do trial and error on yourself. Just make sure you take note of any itchiness and flakiness.

If you are on a hair journey like me, I would recommend this product as you are extending your washing days past day 2. I was impressed based on the affordability and formulation of the product. I look forward to going back and trying out more Kristin Ess Hair products in the future. If you use any of her products, let me know in the comments what you think or if there is something you would like for me to review.

Stay adventurous,

Natalie

5 Reasons Your Goals Fail By the End of January

Planning is key to success.

It’s hard to believe that we are at the end of January. Personally, I am not used to this month flying this fast. I always felt that January would drag because not much is going on as far as birthdays and holiday events.

January is known as THE month for everyone to establish their New Year’s Resolutions, or goals. Everyone is wanting to make a change for the better for the new year. I am one of them. I’ve personally never created New Year’s Resolutions for myself. Let’s be honest, I am not the girl who can stick with a planned outfit for the next day. I’m constantly changing my mind as the year goes on. Hey, that’s okay. This year though, I did establish goals for myself. If you haven’t read the article about goals, you can find it here.

I know some of you may have already felt or already have given up on your goals. My question is, why? Is it because you can’t simply do it? Is it because your goals aren’t working out for you? Did you lack motivation? I’m not here to shame you if you have. We have all been there.

What I am here for is to give you my five reasons why your goals fail by the end of January. These reasons may give you some insight and possibly identify the root of your problem. Without further ado, let’s get into them.

  1. Your goals were far-fetched.
    Some of you may have made huge goals for you and your family. I mean HUGE! Maybe you want to wipe out your 150K debt by the end of 2022. Maybe you want to run a marathon by April. Maybe you want to buy your first home by your 30th birthday. I’m going  to be honest with you, I have been there. I have created such far-fetched goals for myself in the past. Sure, it looks good on paper, but let me ask you this: Do you have the capability to do it in that given amount of time?

    Things to consider: Look at your foundation. If you have a financial goal, look at your current finances and budget (if you have one). If you have a health goal, look at your current health whether it is your weight, bloodwork, fitness level, etc. If you are a beginner blogger, like me, look at your views and engagements from previous months from different social media platforms.  When you look at your foundation, you can get an idea of how realistic you need for your goal to be.
  2. You didn’t break down your goals into mini-goals.
    You made your goals and hopefully wrote them down. That is a start. However, if you didn’t do anything else with your goal. You probably feel overwhelmed and don’t know where to begin. You may have researched how people met similar goals and later became frustrated. Trust me when I say, “I’ve been there. I’ve done that.” What is causing your frustration is you don’t know where to begin. We read all the success stories, but we don’t always hear how they got started.

    Things to consider: Break your goal down into fourths, if you can. Each fourth would represent what you want to achieve for each season. Let’s say your goal is to pay off your $24K student loan by the end of the year. You can break it down by paying off $6K by March. Another $6K by June. Another $6K by August. Then your last $6K by December. When you break it down into mini-goals, you stay motivated and you can see your progress along the way.
  3. You aren’t making a weekly/daily plan for your goals.
    The explanation behind reason 3 is similar to reason 2. You broke your goal down into mini goals, but you stopped right there. Maybe you have the idea that you can accomplish your mini-goals within a season, but you don’t take action right away. You put it off until you realize you’re running out of time. Therefore, you think that it’s all over and quit right on the spot.  You feel there is no use to keep going because you lost some time along the way.

    Things to consider: Depending on your goal, you need to break it down even further into smaller goals. I like to call these smaller goals, “weekly/daily actions.” This is where a planner or a notebook would come in handy because writing things down drives you to take action on your goal. On Sunday evenings, I take some time to sit down and think about what I want to accomplish within the upcoming week. I make a goal for that week and then break it down into what I am going to do throughout that week.

    For an example: I currently have a goal to wash my hair once a week. I started back in July when I noticed how damaged my hair looked. So I broke my goal down to five phases, each phase pertaining to how often I wash my hair. Phase 1 is to wash my hair every other day. I wrote the goal down and then I went into my planner and scheduled the days I would be washing my hair. I would also take note of how my hair was looking on the non-washed days. Over time, my scalp was becoming less oily and less hair was falling out. I worked on Phase 1 until last December. I am currently in Phase 2. I schedule my hair wash days and take note of how my hair is looking by day 3. When you reflect on how things are going, you are able to recognize your strengths and find strategies to help you improve on your weaknesses.

My hair journey back in September. I scheduled my wash days and took note on my scalp and hair on non-wash days.

4. You feel like you should see significant progress.
Okay, this reason is totally relatable because I, too, have been there. This part is the most frustrating thing we all experience when meeting our goals. In this world today, technology and fast paced societies have completely changed our mindset where we think we should see big results in a little amount of time. I hate to break it to you, but unless you win the lottery or have a genie, you’re not going to see a big change overnight. If you’re trying to lose 20 pounds, you’re not going to lose it overnight through diet and exercise. It’s physically not possible. If you’re new at starting a blog, chances are, you aren’t going to hit over 10 million views overnight. Things take time and effort. It took me a long time to figure this out.

Things to consider: Do a recap at the end of each month. This is where you get a clearer picture of the progress you have made so far. Your recap will also motivate you to make a plan for the following month and keep going.  If you consider taking on the tips I gave you in Reasons 1-3, then you will see some progress. Is it going to be a lot of progress? Probably not. However, slow progress is better than no progress.

5. You’re not holding yourself accountable.
This reason tends to get under a lot of people’s skin. Why? Because they are being called out for what they have or haven’t done. I hate to say this, but nobody is going to accomplish your goals for you. It’s just not going to happen. You are responsible for your actions. You are the only one who makes the final decision on whether you want to keep going or quit.

Things to consider: Journal. I’m not saying you should write a page a day on your day. Simply write down your highs and lows from that day. Then come up with a plan on how you are going to improve. Writing it down will give you motivation. It will also make you realize what you are doing to sabotage your goals. When you write down your sabotaging habits more than once, you will start feeling a little embarrassed by it. Trust me. I’ve felt that before.

I hope these reasons give you some insights on what’s going on and how you can improve yourself along the way. Making goals is easy. Putting in the time and doing the work is the hard part. Have you felt this way before or struggled with working on goals? If so, let me know in the comments, I would love to hear what you did to overcome the struggle.

Stay adventurous,

Natalie

My Top 10 January Wins

The first month of 2022 is over which means one thing….revisit my January goals. At the beginning of the month, I sat down and wrote six goals I wanted to meet in the month of January. These goals reflect on my 2022 Goals I also wrote out at the beginning of the year. 

Instead of focusing on what goals I reached and the ones I didn’t meet, I wanted to share my 10 wins I had for this month.

10. Scheduled my blog posts 3 times a week.

My goal at the beginning of the month was to become consistent on my blog posts. I read success stories and watch YouTube videos on the importance of consistency. This is my second month since my launch so I knew it was time to get a little serious and start making some small changes. I decided to publish my posts three times a week with the weekends off. 

I scheduled a post for Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. So far I have seen some activity on those days. However, I haven’t advertised as much as I liked due to fear of being “that person” who has to advertise their blog multiple times. I am working on overcoming that fear as you are reading it.

9. I finished 2 books this month.

If you have been following along, I finished the book, Present Over Perfect a before January was halfway over. Instead of starting a brand new book, I decided to finish one I haven’t touched since last fall. I started Sadie Roberston’s, Live, in June 2020. Her book is simply one you can read one chapter after another. Instead, it was one where you read a chapter and internalized what she was talking about. I’m glad I finished this book this month because it has given me a different perspective on my situation. Since then, I have been more positive and confident that things will get better.

8. Started Listening To “Mornings With the Masters” Podcast Everyday.

I ditched my Apple Music in December after I left my job so podcasts have been my main source of entertainment in the car, camper, walks, etc. I came across “Mornings With the Masters” when I was looking for Christian based podcasts. Each episode consists of the scripture, devotional, a brief real life connection to the topic, and a prayer sign off. I love listening to their podcast because Tori and Chad cover a lot within 7-10 minutes. If you are looking for a daily devotional podcast, I highly recommend them.

7. Utilizing my Five Minute Journal.

As I stated in my post, My First Attempt of the Five Minute Journal, I gave myself the challenge to utilize it each day for the next 60 days. I will admit, there were two weekends out of the month where I did not use my journal. I could tell a difference in my mood when I didn’t use it for a couple of days. This has motivated me to bounce back the next day. 

Writing in the journal is the first thing I do in the morning before I do anything else. It is also the last thing I do before I go to bed. My biggest challenge is that I am thinking too much into what I want to write instead of writing what is in my heart. I’m still working to improve on this tactic.

6. Washing My Hair 3 Times A Week

This month marks the first full month I have been able to extend my hair washing days. Toward the end of December, I noticed hair was less oily on my non-washing days. I knew it was time for me to move to the next phase: Go from one non-washing day to two. It has taken me almost six months to move on to this phase, I’ve never been so happy with the journey so far. My hair is healthier and I’m saving money on shampoo and conditioner products.

5. Participated in My First Spot Shoot.

I have yet to write a blog post about my experience. This is my first time ever participating in this form of competition. Honestly, I did a lot better than what I thought. On the weekend I shot, I was the only female participating. Although I was in last place, I did have the opportunity to make it through the shoot up. My biggest downfall was my nerves because I was standing on a podium in front of everyone. There is a lot I need to work on such as my form and mentality. It’s not something I would want to do on a regular basis, but I’m not ruling out that I won’t do it again.

4. Attending Archery Trade Association 2022 (ATA).

This was a big opportunity for Josh and me to attend this event. We were able to meet new people and see the well-known archers. We also got to see new and upcoming products that are releasing later this year. We are grateful to have a great business to allow us to come and represent their shop while making decisions on what would be best for our customers back home.

3. Tikka and I Visited Part of Dismal State Park.

I haven’t created a post about this park yet because we haven’t had the time to explore even further. The park is ginormous and it crosses from Virginia to North Carolina. We spent a couple of hours there, but we didn’t even put a dent into exploring the area. When the weather is better on a weekend, Josh and I are planning to go and check out the area a little more. If you’ve been keeping up with the state and national parks we have visited, stay tuned. There will be a post on Dismal State Park.

2. Felt More Positive About Life.

At this time last year, I was depressed and anxious due to work and the pandemic. My job was very stressful keeping up with virtual learning and sitting in an empty classroom 8 hours a day. I felt as if I wasn’t making a big difference in student progress and became worried about when I would ever see my students again. My anxiety grew as I continued to wonder if anyone loved me while I was in this state. I spent months dealing with this. It’s a season I would never want to wish on my worst enemy.

After moving to a new state with Josh, quitting my teaching job, starting this blog, and focusing on reading and listening to devotionals, I do not feel as anxious and depressed as I was this time last year. I still have my bad days, but my good days are outweighing the bad these days. I thank God for that!

  1. Restoring My Faith.

This has weighed on my heart for the last few months. I wanted to spend some time each day focusing on God and the biblical stories, but I couldn’t quite find the supplements to help me when reading the Bible. Discovering Sadie Robertson’s books and finding Chad and Tori Master’s podcast has been a start. Reading, listening and internalizing what is presented has changed my perspective not on my life, but just life itself. It’s so easy to focus on the negativity going on in this world today. However, I have begun to find the silver linings in each situation I come across which has lessened my depression and anxiety. I’ve been pouring my troubles and worries out to God before I give thanks for what He has given me so far. I’ve noticed that restoring my faith has brought me peace to my life.

Looking at my “wins,” January has been good to me. Big or small, I have experienced and learned a lot along the way. I am a better person physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually now than at the beginning of January. I’d like for you to take time and think about what you have done in the month of January. Even if you have done one thing, consider it as a win and go from there. What were your “wins” for the month of January? I look forward to sitting down and making my goals for February and taking on this adventure.

Stay adventurous,

Natalie

Five Things to Consider If You Are Planning to Live In a Camper

Camper life isn’t easy.

This week is our last week living the camper life. Next week we will be moving into our new apartment in North Carolina and we cannot be more excited about it. We have been living in 290 square feet of camper space since November, and it has been an experience. The camper life looks all fun and exciting in the pictures, but there are some challenges and sacrifices that you will have to face. Therefore, I wanted to go over five things you should consider if you are thinking about living in a camper

  1. Prepare for Winter:

Living in the camper during the winter was very challenging. We did not close off underneath the camper because of our limited time here on the campground. Every day, we were always working on the camper to keep it going whether it was getting the heat to work or thawing water lines (we even had heat tape on the water lines, but it did not help). We did bring down our space heater to cut down on the propane use and keep the chill out. 

If you are planning to live in it longer than us, consider getting some underpinning to put on the bottom of the camper. It will keep the cold air from flowing underneath and hold in more heat for your camper. Again, we did not do this because we had just less than a month before we moved out of it. If you want to further research how people live in campers in harsh winters, I recommend looking up some videos on YouTube and take note of what people have done. 

2. Limited Hookups:

Depending on where you are going, there are possibilities that you will have limited hookups. We only have water and electricity hooked up to our camper. Not having a sewage tank presented us some challenges. Any long showers and major potty breaks had to take place in the campground bath house. It wasn’t so bad in the beginning, but I can now understand how my ancestors felt if they needed to cross the road to use the outhouse on a cold winter’s night.

Portable holding tank we use for our camper.

If you do not have access to a public bath house, you can purchase a portable sewage holding tank for your camper. We ended up getting a 32 gallon holding tank that we can pull to the campsite’s holding tank and empty it out. Keep in mind though, if two people take a shower and use the bathroom, you will have to empty it almost every day.

3. Living Space For Your Pet:

We are currently living in 290 square feet of space…with a 8 month old black lab. Our living space gets cramped very quickly when two adults and a pup are moving around in it. We have made a tiny space beside the bed for him to sleep in the same room with us. He is very grateful we have done this for him. As far as moving and playing in the camper, it is very difficult for him to do so.

If you’re planning on living on a campground like us, check the campground rules about pets. Our campground enforces pets to be on leashes at all times. We will take walks around the campground site or go to the nearest hiking trail so he can get some exercise. If you have room, I would recommend getting a dog runner so he can roam within our lot.

4. Propane is not Cheap:

If you use a space heater in your camper, please follow all the safety guidelines.

When we moved to Virginia, we had one 100 lb. and two 15 lb. propane tanks that we can run for cooking and heat. We are now running on the 15 lb. propane tanks at the moment because we are out in our 100 lb. tank.  We were lucky to find a Home Depot to exchange our empty 15 lb. tanks last week for $20 a tank. Because we were moving next week, we didn’t even bother looking to buy another 100 lb. tank. 

As I said earlier, we did bring down our space heater to take the chill out of the air. I recommend keeping your space heater away from furniture and objects and set the thermostat no higher than 73 degrees. Also to reduce the chances of having a fire, DO NOT leave your heater unattended.  However, depending on the amount of wattage the electrical plug in can hold to supply electricity to the camper, you can trip the breaker if you have a lot of things running at once.

5. Downsizing Your Belongings:

Our “closet.”

Personally, this one was very challenging for me because I have a lot of clothes and shoes. Before our big move, I had to go through my closet and think about what I could wear until we moved into our apartment. I thought about what pieces I need to accommodate this crazy southern weather. As a result, I packed the clothes that I knew I would wear on a regular basis. If I knew I would only wear an article of clothing one time, then it was going to stay back in my closet in West Virginia 

Josh and I used the available storage space in the camper. We also bought a shower curtain rod from Walmart to hang up in the back of the camper. This would alleviate any of the storage spaces we may need for other items. Downsizing has its perks because it has cut down on the amount of clothes shopping I would do and added more money in my pockets.

I am going to be honest with you, living in a camper is not for everyone. There’s a bit of upkeep you will have to do on your camper in order to make it livable. You will have to be creative in storing items, and be mindful of items you buy. Would I live in a camper again? Of course. It has been a learning experience for sure.  It has also made me appreciate the finer things in life such as a full functioning bathroom, bigger square footage, and a yard. 

I hope these things will help you think about what you are getting yourself into if you have never lived in a camper for more than a week or ever before. If you have lived in a camper, what are some challenges you’ve faced while living in it? Let me know in the comments!

Stay adventurous!

Natalie

Back to the Basics: Hand Placement

Last week, I talked about the basics of footwork and the effects it has when shooting in 3D archery. If you haven’t read last week’s post, I provide the link here. If you are beginning archery and have been following along, I hope last week’s insight and resources helped you when focusing on your form. It may sound crazy, but footwork does affect the way you aim and follow through on your shot. Please continue to pay attention to your footwork while we move on Part 2 for Back to the Basics.

Hand placement is one of the most important things to pay attention to when practicing or competing. Why? Your hand placement affects the way you torque your bow. If you are one to put full grip on your bow, chances are, you have noticed how your arrow is inconsistently moving from left and/or right.

The goal is to have your bow balanced when you are aiming.

So how do I do that? There is a trick.

When you are drawing back, you want to pay attention to how the grip pushes against your hand. You want the grip to push back against the area below your thumb when you are drawn back. This area provides better grip on your bow and holds it steadier. When you’re practicing, pay attention to where your grip pushes back. If it’s against the area below your thumb, then you are on the right track. 

The grip should push back on the area I’m pointing to in the picture.

Now let’s talk about finger placement on the grip…

Even though your grip is pushing back on your hand, you can still have some torque based on your finger placement. Wrapping your fingers completely around the grip, will allow you to torque your bow left or right. This will cause frustration in the beginning if you aren’t paying attention to your fingers. Trust me, it took me a while to figure this one out. It wasn’t until Josh noticed it when we were shooting the indoor range. You want your fingers to rest near the front center of the grip. This will balance your bow a little bit more.

You want to form your fingers in a line close to the center of the grip.

This week, focus on where the grip pushes on your hand. If it’s not in the correct area, let down your bow and situate your hand to where the grip hits the correct area before drawing back. Once you draw back, pay attention to your finger placement on the grip. They should be aligned close to the center of the front grip.

Now that we have covered the basics on hand placement, you now have a checklist before releasing the arrow:

  1. Are your feet 90 degrees from the target and shoulder width apart?
  2. When you draw back, is the grip pushing back on the area below your thumb?
  3. Are your fingers aligned toward the center of the front grip?

Looking at your checklist, you may think that is a lot to think about. As you continue practicing, you will begin noticing how natural your placements are beginning to feel. If you would like to study more about hand placement, you can check out this video from School of Nock.

This week take some time each evening to shoot 10 rounds on your target (4 arrows per round which gives you 40 shots). The more you practice, the easier your body will remember the correct form. Next week, I will give you some insights on anchoring your bow before releasing your arrow. Let me know how things are going in the comments below or send me an email. I would love to hear how the progress is going.

Stay adventurous!

Natalie

January Read: “Present Over Perfect”

Last month, I reviewed Erin Loechner’s book, Chasing Slow . I received some insights on what “slow living” meant regarding your situation. One of the things that stood out was being more present.

Present? I heard this before…

Being present is easier said than done, especially if you suffer from anxiety. It is difficult to be present when I overthink the scenarios I’m in. I always think about what could happen and how I need to act accordingly. I make an extra effort to be more presentable and approachable before the opportunity arises whether it’s meeting new people or going out with your significant other. What my anxiety is reaching for is a dose of perfection.

This leads to the book I am currently reading this month. 

I have been reading Shauna Niequist’s book,Present Over Perfect Present Over PerfectPresent Over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living. Niequist’s book is about her journey of the ups and downs in her personal, professional, and spiritual life. Each chapter talks about a different experience and the key message she received from it. All in which we can learn along the way.

There were a few things I could relate to in Niequist’s book. First, perfection. Both of us are known to chase one achievement after another. We both craved for more instead of taking a moment and enjoying an achievement. We both were known to say, “yes,” to everything. We both became frantic and exhausted. Perfection has always been my goal in my head. It’s what I thought was keeping my anxiety at bay. However, perfection was feeding my anxiety. 

Niequist talks about her breaking point a few years ago while she was on a business trip. Once she realized how she was living and the effects it was taking on her life, family, and God, she knew it was time to make a change. As I was reading her journey, I was becoming aware of the things I was doing. I was only thriving on anxiety and busyness. This began to bother me not because it was happening, but because I realized it was happening and I was allowing it.

As I continued reading, I realized we had one thing in common, spiritual health was neglected. We weren’t taking the time to talk to God and reflect on the lessons from the biblical stories. I think we as society are so caught up on pleasing others and being so perfect that we forget to be graceful when we fail, be kind to ourselves when things don’t go our way, and take time to rest from the noise. 

In the book, Niequist wrote a chapter called, “Vinegar and Oil.” She compares our prayers to salad dressing. The vinegar is on top and the oil is on the bottom. She then talked about how we tend to only pray about the good things happening to us instead of pouring our troubles to God. When you’re praying you got to pour out our troubles and worries to him first (vinegar), then you pray about the good things happening (oil). This was not only my favorite chapter, but it stuck with me.

When you become aware of your choices and wellbeing, it is up to you to make the choice on how you want to live your life. There’s two choices: continue living the way you always have based on others’ approval or make the change for the better. Niequist’s awareness motivated her to make some changes along the way. She began to say, “no ” on golden career opportunities. She began to put her family and herself first.

Either way you look at it, both choices are hard. I have made the choice to become more present. I’m thinking about how each choice affects me short term and long term. I quit my teaching job because of the mental and emotional tolls on my health. I take it one day at a time instead of looking at where I need to be in 5-10 years. I found that I’m at peace as I continue this journey. Is this an easy journey? Of course not. However, the life I was living beforehand wasn’t easy either. 

The idea of perfection is always going to be there. It is vital for you to realize that you cannot reach perfection. Life throws too many curveballs at us which prevents us from being perfect. I think a lot of times, we get so caught up on the negativity which shields us from the silver linings. Sometimes we get upset when things don’t go our way, and forget that it wasn’t in God’s plan because he has something bigger for us. 

This month’s read has really stuck with me. There were a lot of life lessons to think about and reflect on how it relates to me. I found ways to become more present while focusing on my spiritual health. Currently I have been looking at the world a little differently. In this fast paced world that strives for perfection, I know I am going to be okay being imperfect.

Stay adventurous,

Natalie

Archery Trade Association

This weekend, Josh and I had the opportunity to attend the Archery Trade Association with our local bow shop in Louisville, Kentucky. This members-only event is the largest and inclusive show of the year. ATA is a three day event that consists of manufacturers, retailers, distributors, sales, professional archers and hunters, and others come together and share their love for the archery and bowhunting industry. Vendors have the opportunity to promote current and new products while networking with retailers nationwide.

Archery Trade Association 2022, Louisville, Kentucky.

Networking and placing orders weren’t the only thing you could do at the ATA. There were scheduled times for seminars, coffee talks, and coaching certifications. You can learn everything from arrow building, to marketing archery products to your customers, and hands-on training. Major bow vendors such as PSE and Prime gave potential buyers an opportunity to shoot their product demos in designated ranges. No matter the reason why you are attending, there was always something to learn and/or try out.

Many of the archery and bowhunting companies promoted their businesses through free product and cash giveaways, stickers, free apparel, and so much more. We were fortunate to retrieve and purchase items such as free t-shirts and hats from QAD, D-loop material for our bows, and two Scent Crusher Ozone Go products for your car.

Josh and I representing HP Archery at the ATA 2022.

Our experience at the ATA was amazing. Although we were tired and sore from walking by Saturday night, we both really enjoyed representing our local bow shop, meeting new people and trying out products we were interested in using during 3D and hunting season. If you were to tell me that I would be attending a members only archery event when I began my archery adventure in 2018, I would have been skeptical and laughed at the idea. My first year attending will be something I will never forget.

I know we did not visit every vendor like we hoped, but we made sure to stop by our favorite companies such as QAD, PSE, Tethrd, and T.R.U. Ball Axcel. If you ever get the opportunity to go to ATA, I highly recommend it. It’s amazing to see the technological advances the archery and bowhunting industries are making that will make your competitions and hunting experiences enjoyable.

If you would like to know more about the Archery Trade Association or want to become a member, click on the following link: https://archerytrade.org 

January Beauty Review: Briogeo Be Gentle, Be Kind Shampoo & Conditioner Set

As a hunter, I struggle finding hunting related shampoo and conditioner sets because quite frankly, it is nearly non-existent. In big box stores, you find the all-in-one shampoo and body wash. There’s maybe one or two brands out there who sell shampoo and conditioner sets for women, but they are usually out of stock. 

I decided to take the leap and look for fragrance-free. It’s basically the same principle, right? I began searching for brands that offer fragrance-free while being conscious about the ingredients for the sake of my fine hair. I came across Briogeo Be Gentle, Be Kind Shampoo and Conditioner.

NOTE: This review is a little different because this review is also for those who are looking for fragrance free shampoo and conditioner for hunting season. However, if you are interested in finding fragrance-free shampoo and conditioner sets because you’re sensitive to fragrance or you are looking for a more natural shampoo and conditioner set.

Briogeo Be Gentle, Be Kind
Shampoo & Conditioner Set

Who is Briogeo?

Briogeo Hair Care was founded by Nancy Twine. Twine was inspired by her grandmother, a resident beauty guru who was well known for her homemade hair care in a West Virginia town (How cool is that?). She later traded out her homemade essentials for store-bought when she moved to New York City. Twine realized that the natural hair care market simply didn’t live up to its claims. Therefore, she collaborated with a natural chemist team and her grandmother’s beauty recipes and created Briogeo Hair Care.

Why are they significant?

According to Twine, “We should treat our hair the same way we treat our skin; by nurturing it with ingredients that detoxify, hydrate, and protect.”

Briogeo is inspired by individuality, positivity, and transparency. They create regimens that support the issues we all have with our hair. They think about repair, volume, and curl care and give you the products that support these things. Their products do not contain harsh chemicals such as sulfates, silicones, paragons, phthalates, DEA, and synthetic color. Each product includes an exact percentage of ingredients and its source.

SOURCE:

https://briogeohair.com/pages/our-story

What are the key ingredients?

The following key ingredients are found in both the shampoo and conditioner.

Aloe Vera: provides anti-inflammatory benefits

-Oat Milk: rich in omega-6 fatty acids and provides nourishment and moisture

-Green Tea Extract: Antioxidant 

-Meadowfoam Seed Oil: hydrates and maintains moisture for the hair.

SOURCES:

https://briogeohair.com/collections/be-gentle-be-kind/products/be-gentle-be-kind-aloe-oat-milk-ultra-soothing-shampoo

https://briogeohair.com/products/be-gentle-be-kind-aloe-oat-milk-ultra-soothing-conditioner

Is it affordable?

The shampoo and conditioner is a little pricey. For the set, it will cost you around $52 ($26 a piece). However, if you sign up for a subscription, you would be paying $23.40 (10% off). 

Pros:

-Conditioner formulation: I really like how creamy the conditioner is. It wasn’t a chore massaging it on the ends of my hair.

-Less frizz: After using the set during hunting season, I noticed I had less frizz in my hair after I blow dry it. I’m not sure whether it is due to the lack of fragrance or if it is the ingredients in the formula.

Cons:

-Shampoo formulation: I felt like the formulation was a little watery. I felt like I needed a bigger amount in order for my scalp to feel clean. 

-More tangles from the shampoo: I had a little more tangles after using the shampoo. Whenever I applied the conditioner, I had to use a little more of it and be gentle when working the conditioner in my hair.

My Takeaway:

Scent-free, manageable hair

Briogeo Be Gentle, Be Kind Shampoo and Conditioner met the expectations of being fragrance free. Initially, it took a couple of washes for the fragrance to come out. I was pleased with the outcome during hunting season. If it wasn’t for the price, I could switch over to using this on a regular basis. I look forward to trying out their other products in the future.

If you are interested in trying Brigeo, you can click on the link below and receive 10% off when you spend $40 or more.

http://rwrd.io/fhhyek9 

Stay adventurous,

Natalie Paige

New Year, New Goals

Happy New Year, everyone!

It’s a new adventure for everyone! It’s also that time of the year where some of us use the phrase, “New Year, New Me.” Instead, like to say, “New Year, New Goals.” 

Whether you do or don’t use these phrases, I hope you have thought about a few goals you want to achieve this year. I know I have been thinking about mine for the last few days. If you haven’t, I hope you make at least one goal for yourself. It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant such as winning a million dollars (although that would be pretty awesome if any of us did). If you haven’t thought of any goals or simply think that it’s useless to have them, let’s break down what a goal is and the importance behind them.

My essential goal trackers.

What is a goal?

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a goal is “something that you are trying to do or achieve.” Sounds pretty self explanatory, right? 

When I hear the word, “goal,” I think of seasons and milestones. You work for what you want in one or more seasons. A season doesn’t necessarily mean it will take you 4 months to achieve. It can take a couple of months or maybe a year to work at it. Small victories are achieved during these seasons of hard work and dedication. It could be losing 5 pounds within the first month of your weight loss journey or you didn’t have any zeros on your scorecard in your last archery competition. Whatever your victories might be, these are the little guys that keep you motivated to your goal.

A milestone is much bigger than a season. This is where you may achieve your ultimate goal. These occur a little less often, but they are more rewarding. It could be buying a house or paying off all your debt. Achieving a milestone may take more than a year and that’s okay. 

Why do people make them?

People make goals as a way to motivate themselves to sustain life and find a purpose. Goals are a way for us to trigger new behaviors and form a routine that keeps us going. Goals allow us to focus on what we want, materialistic or not. Most of the time, we set goals because we want to better ourselves physically, mentally, emotionally, financially, and spiritually. 

What goals should I make for myself?

Think about all the things you have or you do and what you want to accomplish. If you want to become a runner, you may want to have the goal of completing your first 5k. If you own a home, you may want to become more organized, starting with the kitchen. Whatever it might be, think about something that interests you. 

How can I stick to my goals?

You may have talked to family and friends and noticed some who have stopped reaching their New Year goals. Maybe you have been one to stop meeting your goal. I have been guilty of this as well. When I look back at the goals I did not achieve for myself, I reflect on my “glow” and “growth.” My “glows” are the small steps I made to work toward that goal. My “growth” is what I could have done to continue these unreached goals. Below are some tips I use to help me stick to my goals:

  1. Set a reachable goal for yourself.
    Your goals don’t necessarily have to be huge. If you’re a beginner in running, finishing your first 5K would be a reachable goal. You don’t have a set finish time or pace for yourself. You simply want to finish the event. If you’re wanting to wipe out debt, paying off a credit card first would be a reachable goal. Start “small” for yourself. If you don’t, your drive to reach your ultimate goal will diminish in a very short amount of time.
  2. Set a timeline.
    How long do you want to achieve your goal? Do you want to achieve it within a month? A year? In 5 years? You want to give yourself some time to achieve this goal. BE REALISTIC!  You may have read headlines where people achieve a huge goal in 3-6 months. Kudos to them! However, can you actually do the same? Evaluate your situation. Give yourself some time to achieve it. If you don’t, chances are you will become either burned out or you sell yourself short and have to recover whether its finances or your health. These goals take time. You have to be reasonable as to how you’re going to achieve it in a healthy manner.
  3. Have a plan.
    In order to achieve your ultimate goal, you need a plan. How are you going to achieve your goal? What is it that you need in order to meet your goal? How long do you think it ’s going to take to meet your goal? When you set a plan, you get an idea of what you need to do. Can your plan change? Of course it will. Life will sometimes get in the way and alter our plan, and that’s okay.
  4. Set mini goals for your ultimate goal.
    In order to achieve your ultimate goal, you need a plan. How are you going to achieve your goal? What is it that you need in order to meet your goal? How long do you think it ’s going to take to meet your goal? When you set a plan, you get an idea of what you need to do. Can your plan change? Of course it will. Life will sometimes get in the way and alter our plan, and that’s okay.

    Look at your ultimate goal and break it down into what I call, “small victories.” Small victories motivate you to keep moving forward. If you’re wanting to lose weight, think about how much you want to lose each month. If you’re starting out with a blog (like me!), think about how many posts you want to put out within a month. Remember, make sure your small victories are REACHABLE.
  5. Write your goals down.
    This one is very important. Why? Because you are more than likely to stick with your goals if you have them on paper. If you’re one who sets a goal in your head, chances are, you may modify your goal along the way (this is where you can end up selling yourself short). I write down my goals I want to achieve for the year and place them in a safe spot. Then, I write smaller goals for each month on a separate sheet of paper. Sometimes, I will write even smaller goals for each week in a planner. Writing your goals down holds you more accountable for achieving them.
  6. Reflect on your mini goals once you achieve them.
    Every time I achieve either a small victory or an ultimate goal. I reflect on what I did. What did I do to achieve it? What were my successes along the way? What could I have done to make the achievement even better? What were my weaknesses along the way?

    When you reflect, you’re able to pinpoint the highs and lows along the way. We’re all human so it is inevitable to have lows. It’s important to focus on both of these things because they show growth. When you look at the entire picture, you’re able to see how far you come along the way and how it has made you a better person. Whenever I reflect, I form a little bit of pride in how far I’ve come and have more appreciation in my achievements.

Whatever you goal or goals are for this year, I hope you take the time to look at what you want and how you’re going to achieve them. If you don’t have any goals yet, set at least one for yourself. Remember, it doesn’t have to be anything extravagant. Set a goal that will push you out of your comfort zone. That’s where the adventure occurs. You may hate that feeling (I know I do.), but trust the process. Eventually, that process will become rewarding and you will thank yourself for pushing yourself.

If you have goals for the new year that you would like to share, let me know! I always like to read what others are doing to become a better version of themselves.

Stay adventurous,

Natalie Paige

The First Attempt of Using the Five Minute Journal

I am a Debbie Downer.

You just read that correctly.

All my life, I’ve always focused on the negatives instead of the positives. I am always coming up with ways of dealing with the worst case scenarios instead of presently enjoying the moments. A lot of it comes from my anxiety and past traumas which has conditioned my brain to react negatively toward events.

This year, I want to change that. I no longer want to be so negative all the time. I want to look at the positives instead of the negatives. I want to find the silver linings when things go south. The question is, what am I going to do and how am I going to achieve it?

About six months ago, I bought a Five Minute Journal from Amazon. I saw this journal from an Instagram influencer a few times last year. I was intrigued with the journal. I got a glimpse of the layout of the journal and I loved it! I ordered my journal online and received it a couple days later.

Before I began writing my happy thoughts away, I read the background information relating to gratitude and how it affects our mood and thoughts. I took the time to soak the information before I began the happier journey. I was looking forward to writing my thoughts down.

I used the journal for a couple of weeks until I stopped. I was drowning in stress and anxiety from work, taking care of the house on my own while taking care of a puppy. It was all too much for me, especially when I had a puppy jumping on the journal with muddy paw prints. I felt like my life wasn’t going the way I wanted it to because of the challenges brought forth. I felt like a failure.

My copy of “The Five Minute Journal.” The title is a little faded due to wet paw prints.

As this year closes, I want to make the attempt at writing in my Five Minute Journal again. No, I am not going to buy a new copy of the journal. I’m going to continue using the one I have already purchased. There’s no need to waste all those unused pages. My goal is to use the journal for 60 days, starting on the first of January. I will give you an update on my mood and thoughts once the 60 days have passed.

I wouldn’t call this a New Year’s resolution. Instead this is a New Year’s adventure. I know this adventure is going to be a challenge. It’s so easy to focus on the negative moods and thoughts when I have been so used to reacting this way for so many years. I know it’s going to take more than a journal to get me to change my way of thinking, but I need to start somewhere and build on as the year progresses.

Stay adventurous,

Natalie Paige

Merry Christmas!

Hey everyone!

Josh, Tikka, and I are back in West Virginia for the holidays! We are grateful to have the opportunity to travel and explore. However, there’s no place like home.

For the weekend, we will be spending Christmas with our family and friends. We look forward to seeing everyone while we are in!

Until then, I want to tell my readers and followers a very Merry Christmas! Enjoy this time with your loved ones. Remember, it doesn’t matter what kind or how big the gift is, it is the thought that counts.

Stay adventurous this Christmas,

Natalie White

December’s Beauty Spotlight: UpCircle Beauty Moisturizer

Hey everyone!

For the last couple of months, I decided to take on the journey by being more conscious of the products I buy. I look for products that contain more natural products and sustainable packaging. As I’m getting older, I’m becoming more aware of how certain ingredients affect my well-being.

UpCircle is my very first beauty review. I wanted to share this product with readers because it is coming up in the mainstream beauty world. At first it was available on their UpCircle website , but it is now available at ULTA. Before I share my takeaway, I want to give you some background information on the product and makers behind the scenes.

Who is UpCircle?

UpCircle was created by two siblings from London, England who found out local coffee shops were throwing out coffee grounds once they were finished making coffee for their customers. The siblings began collecting the used coffee grounds from one coffee shop in 2015. Today, they collect used coffee grounds from hundreds of local coffee shops in London.

Why is UpCircle so significant?

UpCircle Face Moisturizer

The used coffee grounds are reused in their skincare line. At first, you’re probably thinking that is super weird (I thought the same thing.). However, the coffee grounds in the moisturizer are not recognizable. The grounds do provide a light scent mixed with the ground argan shells, but it is not overbearing. UpCircle’s goal is to create sustainability while providing a natural skincare line that does not harm your skin while not breaking the bank.

What are the key ingredients?

The key ingredients include:

Ground Argan Shells-rich with Vitamin E

Cocoa Butter– hydrates and nourishes; improves skin elasticity.

Sage Oil– eliminates toxins, diminishes appearance of blemishes, relieves skin irritation.

Linseed Oil-reduces the appearance of wrinkles.

Aloe Vera– moisturizes and reduces appearances of uneven skin tone.

Blood Orange– fights inflammation.

Is it affordable?

Unlike some skincare lines, UpCircle is affordable. You can buy a 1.7 ounce jar of moisturizer for $24 in the United States.

Pros: 

-All the ingredients are all natural.

The formulation isn’t too heavy nor watery. 

-I love the packaging. The orange tinted glass and metal lid gave it a vintage feel with a modern twist.

-UpCircle is affordable.

Source: UpCircle Beauty website

Cons:

– When I read the reviews, consumers loved the smell. When I first used it, I thought it smelled very musty. When I looked into it, I realized that there are no essential oils in the moisturizer. The smell does take some time to get used to because I am used to the essential oils used in other products. Over time, I became used to the scent.

My Takeaway:

After using the entire jar, I noticed my skin was softer. I also noticed that there were a few uneven tones on my cheeks. I have noticed a small difference in improving fine lines and wrinkles, although I’m sure it could take longer than a month to notice a significant difference. Although the smell threw me off in the beginning, it no longer bothers me when I apply it to my skin. For $24, this moisturizer is worth the money. 

Interested?

You can order from UpCircle Beauty website or buy from your nearest Ulta store. Want a discount? You can the link provided and receive $10 off on your order when you spend a minimum of $15. 

I hope you enjoy this product as much as I do. It is nice to get out of my comfort zone and try something that is beneficial to my skin and the environment. If you try this product or you have tried it, let me know your thoughts!

Stay adventurous,

Natalie Paige